Sports News of Sun, 6 Jul 20140
Chile's new generation has broken the mould - Zamorano
The former Roja striker is delighted with the performances his countrymen have delivered in the World Cup and feels they have never been better placed to succeed
Ivan Zamorano claims that Chile have shown that they are able to take on the world's best as they prepare for their World Cup last-16 game with Brazil.
Zamorano represented la Roja for 14 years, notching up 34 goals in 69 appearances, including 12 goals in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup in France, which still remains a record in the Conmebol section.
The former Real Madrid forward, despite being regarded a legend in his homeland, could only guide his team to the last 16 in 1998 - the same result Chile attained in 2010 - but is convinced the current crop can do better.
"The current generation has broken the mould," the 47-year-old said in an interview with Fifa.com.
"Chile have always had good players, but an entire generation of them is hard to come by. These guys have a different mentality. When you hear them talk, they all speak about becoming world champions.
"While two or three of us had played abroad in the 1998 squad, now 95 per cent of the players have done so. This team are better equipped to take on different international challenges: they have earned their stripes and are a lot more mature and experienced."
Zamorano, who finished as top scorer in the 2000 Sydney Olympics where his six goals inspired Chile to the bronze medal, also reserved special praise for winger Alexis Sanchez, who he feel has been amongst some of the best players in Brazil.
"Alexis Sanchez is the main man for Chile," he continued.
"Our greatest feats come when he really turns it on. There have been some fantastic one-off performances, such as France's against Switzerland and Netherlands and Chile's against Spain, but nothing that's blown me away.
"As for players, Neymar, [Lionel] Messi, [Arjen] Robben and [Xherdan] Shaqiri have particularly caught my eye. They grab games by the scruff of the neck; it's a pleasure to watch them play or to have them on your team because they are match-winners."
The Chile legend also reflected on his own World Cup experiences, particularly his partnership with former Juventus attacker, Marcelo Salas.
"Salas and I were cut from the same cloth and all we ever thought about was scoring as many goals as possible for Chile," he said.
"We've got some great forwards today, but we're slightly lacking that goalscoring instinct. They may not have the same eye for goal, but they are making a lot more chances, showing a great deal more intelligence and creativity."