Chile have announced Reinaldo Rueda's tenure as coach has come to an end following an underwhelming start to World Cup qualification. 

Rueda had been in the post since early 2018, replacing Juan Antonio Pizzi after he failed to lead the team to the 2018 World Cup. 

Chile lost their Copa America crown under Rueda in 2019, having won each of the previous two editions, though they did get to the semi-finals. 

But Rueda's spell in charge has been largely unimpressive, with the team winning just nine of his 27 matches in charge, suffering 10 defeats. 

Rueda leaves Chile having only been able to accumulate four points from as many games at the start of qualification for the 2022 World Cup. 

His final game was the 2-1 defeat away to Venezuela on November 17.

Antonio Conte has no explanation for Alexis Sanchez's fitness issues but is frustrated by the Inter forward's "constant" injuries.

Sanchez has been out of action since just his sixth Serie A start of the season - five of which have ended with a win - against Cagliari on December 13.

The former Manchester United flop has featured in nine of Inter's 13 league games this term, scoring two goals and providing two assists in 538 minutes on the field.

Chile team-mate Arturo Vidal, who has started eight times, returned from his own injury in the final 24 minutes of Sunday's win over Spezia.

Coach Conte was asked on Tuesday, speaking ahead of the trip to Hellas Verona the following day, if the national team had contributed to the pair's problems.

Reinaldo Rueda, the Chile coach, clashed with the Nerazzurri during the November international break as both players were called up for World Cup qualifiers.

"I don't know if it's a problem for the national team or the player," Conte told a news conference. "But the constant fact is that Sanchez is often injured."

Sanchez was signed on a free transfer from United in August following an initial loan spell and attention is now turning to what business Inter can do in the January window.

Reports in Italy suggest there will need to be departures - notably Christian Eriksen - if Conte is to be able to bring in attacking reinforcements such as Alejandro Gomez or Gervinho.

But the former Italy boss was reluctant to discuss plans ahead of a meeting with the club's board.

"My evaluation is not important now," he said. "What is important is what the club has done in these four months in which we have worked.

"We will meet in the days after the match against Verona, during the Christmas period.

"It is right to have a follow-up to the meeting in August after decisions were made that were accepted by everyone. It is right to sit down and understand what solutions we have in mind and whether we want to face them."

Inter will be top of the table at Christmas should they better rivals Milan's result against Lazio on Wednesday.

However, Conte is pleased for league-leading Rossoneri coach Stefano Pioli - previously at Inter - and recognises there is work still to do for his own side.

"[Milan] are doing very well; I'm happy for Pioli," Conte said. "At a football level, we are trying to make a path that will lead to Inter at the top of the table.

"It is a path that has begun and is continuing, a path made of work, alongside a parallel corporate one, about which you would have to ask the club."

Reinaldo Rueda assured Chile took no risks with their use of Alexis Sanchez against Peru, despite a public dispute with Inter over his presence in the squad.

Sanchez this week was forced to leave a Chile training session early with a muscular issue and Rueda criticised Inter's management of the attacker's physical condition.

The club have not hidden their feeling that their players should not be travelling for international matches during a pandemic, claiming the games often lead to injuries amid a congested schedule.

Rueda accused the club of a lack of respect and the Nerazzurri responded by calling his comments "unacceptable, offensive and not corresponding to reality".

Sanchez started on the bench for Friday's 2-0 victory over Peru in the CONMEBOL 2022 World Cup qualifying section and was sent on in the 84th minute, replacing Felipe Mora.

"We talked with Alexis and the medical team about his situation. If we could give him 15 or 20 minutes it was very important," said Rueda.

"He came on and played well in a key stage of the game. It was important for him to gain continuity and confidence without taking risks."

Chile's win was secured by a pair of first-half goals from captain Arturo Vidal, the first of which was a sensational 25-yard strike that flew into the top-right corner.

"He assumed the captaincy with great integrity. The dressing room respects him, because of his experience, the heart he has," said Rueda.

"Arturo's decision and daring to risk allowed us to embrace one another, but Peru never made the game or the possibility to score easy for us."

Vidal's double moved him onto 31 international goals, taking him clear of Carlos Caszely for sole ownership of fifth in La Roja's all-time scoring chart.

However, with Chile having taken one point from their opening two qualifiers it was the win that pleased him more.

"I'm happy for that [surpassing Caszely], but the most important thing is the team, fighting to go to another World Cup. That is more important than the goals," said Vidal.

"I want to congratulate my team-mates for the game we played, against a very strong team which have been playing very well in recent years.

"The first half we played much better, we looked to control the game. The second cost us a bit, we backed down a little, but the important thing was to get the three points and gain confidence."

Peru were unable to recover and record a third straight win against Chile for the first time, having triumphed in their previous two encounters 3-0.

They have now lost six of their past seven against La Roja in World Cup qualifying games.

Inter have issued a statement hitting back at Chile coach Reinaldo Rueda, who claimed the Nerazzurri have overworked Alexis Sanchez.

The Serie A club have become embroiled in a spat with Chile over Sanchez, with the club believing their players should not be involved in international action during the coronavirus pandemic.

Inter say the fixtures put their star men at further risk of injury amid a congested fixture schedule this season.

Chile face Peru and Venezuela in 2022 World Cup qualifiers over the course of this international break, with Sanchez – who has clocked up 251 minutes in all competitions for Inter this term – a key part of their side.

Rueda accused the Nerazzurri of showing a lack of respect regarding the matter, but the Serie A giants have now responded, saying they found the coach's comments "unacceptable, offensive and not corresponding to reality".

A club statement added: "The club has always had the utmost collaboration and excellent relations with all the staff of the national teams.

"In the particular case of Alexis Sanchez, the player has encountered a physical problem in almost every call-up with his national team. 

"In one of these, he suffered a serious injury that kept him away from the pitch for three months. This represented a serious sporting damage for the club, which has always been attentive to the health of its players."

Alexis Sanchez has experienced a "traumatic, very tortuous year", according to Chile boss Reinaldo Rueda.

Manchester United sent Sanchez on loan to Inter for the 2019-20 season but he made just nine appearances for the club before the coronavirus pandemic brought the campaign to a halt.

After suffering an injury while representing Chile at last year's Copa America he had to undergo surgery in October due to an ankle problem sustained in a friendly against Colombia.

Rueda believes Sanchez's difficulties can be traced back to his move to United in January 2018 in a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Arsenal.

The 31-year-old scored just three goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils but Rueda is confident he can rediscover his best form.

"It has been a traumatic, very tortuous year for him. Ever since his departure from Arsenal and his first year at Manchester United," the Chile boss told SPORT.

"He came to the Copa America in Brazil and then had that bad luck with the injury in the friendly against Colombia in Alicante. That loan to Inter was almost thwarted and when he recovered the pandemic came.

"I expect all this to pass quickly because he's a great professional, has a great attitude in training and will maintain a high standing for any club that gives him a chance.

"He's got a lot of football yet to show at the top level."

Asked why Sanchez was unable to cement his place at Barcelona, where he played between 2011 and 2014, Rueda was unsure.

He said: "There are many factors combine so that extraordinary players do not succeed in one place. After being the main man and playing important roles in other places, reaching Barcelona and only having a more secondary role takes its toll.

"It has happened to many players there. Few have managed to adapt quickly to their new role, perhaps Neymar or Arturo Vidal managed. They have demonstrated that intelligence.

"It is not easy to determine why Alexis was not a success in Barcelona."

CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to postpone the start of its 2022 World Cup qualifying, scheduled for this month, due to coronavirus fears.

In a letter sent to FIFA on Wednesday, CONMEBOL asked for its opening qualifiers, scheduled for March 26, 27 and 31, to be postponed.

COVID-19 has killed more than 4,600 people worldwide while affecting more than 126,000.

CONMEBOL cited the possibility of players not being able to travel from Europe due to coronavirus as a reason for its request.

"The member countries of CONMEBOL – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have requested the CONMEBOL to submit to FIFA's consideration the request to postpone the start of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup," the statement read in part.

Lionel Messi's Argentina are due to begin their qualifying campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires, while Brazil are scheduled to face Bolivia in Recife.

The other matchday one games are Paraguay-Peru, Uruguay-Chile and Colombia-Venezuela.

Lionel Scaloni hopes the 2020 Copa America is not Lionel Messi's last as he eyes success with Argentina.

Argentina will open next year's tournament against Chile at El Monumental on June 12, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Scaloni hopes 32-year-old Messi, who will again be aiming to win his first senior international trophy, plays beyond the 2020 Copa.

"I don't know if it will be the last. Hopefully not," the Argentina coach told reporters.

"But Argentina need the title, more than just him. Hopefully, don't promise anything, but we'll give the maximum to reach the final."

Argentina, who last won the Copa in 1993, will also face Uruguay, Paraguay, Australia and Bolivia in Group A after their opener against Chile.

Scaloni's men beat Chile in the third-place play-off this year, in a game that saw Messi and Gary Medel sent off.

"It's a nice game to start," he said. "Anyone would have been difficult because the debut is always difficult, but this one has a special feeling.

"Chile has always been difficult for Argentina, especially in recent times. Difficult, but we are fine."

Argentina will open the 2020 Copa America with a blockbuster clash against Chile in Buenos Aires.

In a rematch of this year's third-place play-off, which Argentina won as Lionel Messi and Gary Medel were sent off, the teams will meet again at the El Monumental on June 12 next year.

While the draw took place on Tuesday, the nations already knew almost all of their opponents with teams split into zones for next year's tournament in Argentina and Colombia.

However, Australia – playing at their first Copa America – were drawn into Group A, which features Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Qatar, the other invited nation, will meet Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.

Brazil will go into the tournament as defending champions after their success at home this year.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Group A: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay.
Group B: Colombia, Brazil, Qatar, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru.

Alexis Sanchez's recovery from ankle surgery is on track and the Inter forward could return ahead of schedule. 

Sanchez suffered a dislocated ankle and tendon damage while playing for Chile against Colombia in October.

The need to have an operation meant three months on the sidelines, curtailing the early stages of his loan stay at San Siro from Manchester United.

Inter's head of medical services Piero Volpi told La Cuarta he is optimistic about Sanchez's speed of recovery, with the 30-year-old aiming to resume work with a ball in the near future.

"It is a delicate injury, but the recovery is going very well, the deadlines are being met," he said.

"Mid-January [is the return date] but we'll see. Alexis could even come back a little earlier if all goes well.

"He has not yet done work with the ball, but we hope that in the next few days we will have news about it. Everything is going well."

Sanchez scored on his only Serie A start for Inter, a 3-1 win at Sampdoria where he was later sent off, and has made four appearances overall for Antonio Conte's side.

Inter's first game of 2020 is away to Napoli in the league on January 5, while they host Atalanta a week later.

Inter forward Alexis Sanchez has undergone successful surgery on his injured left ankle, the Serie A club have confirmed.

Sanchez was substituted late in Chile's friendly win over Colombia on Saturday, with a dislocated joint causing damage to his peroneus longus tendon.

The 30-year-old travelled to Barcelona on Wednesday for a consultation with professor Ramon Cugat and it was decided the issue should be operated on.

A statement on Inter's official website read: "The visit [with Cugat] confirmed the diagnosis of the Inter medical staff and the decision was made to proceed with surgery on the left ankle.

"The operation was performed in the afternoon on the peroneus longus tendon and it went exactly as planned."

Sanchez, who joined Inter on a season-long loan from Manchester United in August, is expected to miss three months of action.

The ex-Arsenal star has made four appearances for Antonio Conte's side this term, scoring one goal in Serie A, though he was sent off later in the same match against Sampdoria.

Arturo Vidal was in no mood to paper over the cracks after Chile secured a 3-2 friendly victory over Guinea. 

The Barcelona midfielder scored from the spot as Chile came from behind to triumph at Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Spain on Tuesday.

It was Chile's first win in normal time since June, but the performance left a lot to be desired and Vidal conceded there was plenty of room for improvement. 

"The important thing was that we won," he said, with Reinaldo Rueda's side having been held to goalless draw by Colombia at the weekend. "We scored three goals and that has not happened for a long time. 

"The desire and work are there, we have to wait a little longer and keep improving, we can give more. If we give everything in each game, we can reach our goals.

"We gave them the first chance and they scored with it. We had to go looking and we managed to score three goals. We have to improve, clearly.

"There are very few players left from the last 10 years, there are new players that need to be supported. In the future this team can achieve a lot."

Jean Meneses and Felipe Mora were both on target, opening their accounts at international level. 

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