Chile’s footballer Alexis Sanchez takes part in a training session in Santiago, on March 21, 2017 ahead of their FIFA World Cup South American qualifier matches against Argentina and Venezuela. CLAUDIO REYES / AFP
Chile star Alexis Sanchez took part in training with his international team-mates on Tuesday ahead of this week’s World Cup clash with Argentina, shrugging off fears an ankle injury would rule him out of the game.
Sanchez limped out of Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after scoring the Gunners’ only goal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger later indicated Sanchez had suffered a serious injury, telling reporters the star’s right ankle was in “an absolutely terrible state.”
Yet Sanchez, whose Arsenal future is the subject of intense transfer speculation, showed no sign of the injury as he trained in Santiago on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old smiled and laughed as he jogged with team-mates during the session as Chile prepare for a crucial showdown with Argentina in Buenos Aires on Thursday.
Chile’s biggest fitness concern surrounds Inter Milan defender Gary Medel, who trained separately from his team-mates as he nurses a thigh strain.
Chile are already missing Arturo Vidal through suspension for Thursday’s game, which is a rematch of the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals won by the Chileans on each occasion.
Vidal took to Twitter on Tuesday to rally support for Chile. “We are now 1000% concentrated on the six points !!! Come on, Chile,” wrote Vidal, who will return from suspension to face Venezuela next Tuesday in Santiago.
Chile are currently in fourth place in the qualifying standings with 20 points from 12 games. Argentina are just outside the automatic qualifying places in fifth with 19 points from 12 games.