- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Chile President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that she will travel to the city of Cuiaba in Brazil to support her country’s World Cup team when it plays against Australia on June 13.

Bachelet spoke at the team’s sports complex in Santiago and said goodbye to the players before they travel to the tournament. During a ceremony, the players gave her a gift of a signed red team shirt similar to the one that they will wear during the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12.

Chile has one of the strongest lineups in its soccer history, including world-class players like Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez. But it also faces defending champion Spain and 2010 finalist Netherlands in Group B. Just reaching the knockout round would be considered a major success.

“The challenge is huge because as we all know, we got a tough group. But you’re very talented,” Bachelet said.

“Now we have to show on the field that it doesn’t matter if we come from a country located at the end of the planet, as long as we have talent and courage - and you have all demonstrated plenty of it already.”

Chile’s recent record is impressive. It finished third in South American qualifying, drew with Spain and beat England in friendlies, and lost only two of 15 games last year.


Luis Andres Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao

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