SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile midfielder Jorge Valdivia’s hopes of returning from a 10-match suspension for indiscipline in this month’s World Cup qualifiers have been dashed by injury.
Valdivia, suspended by former coach Claudio Borghi in October 2011, was recalled last week by new coach Jorge Sampaoli for matches away at Peru on March 22 and at home against Uruguay four days later.
“The national team’s coaching staff released player Jorge Valdivia... (after) the midfielder who plays for Palmeiras in Brazil suffered a right quadriceps injury,” the Chilean Football Association said on its website (www.anfp.cl) on Thursday.
Chile had hoped Valdivia’s return would help the team end a run of three successive defeats in the qualifiers. They have 12 points from nine matches, eight behind leaders Argentina in sixth place.
The top four finishers in the nine-nation group will qualify for the finals in Brazil next year. The fifth-placed team will go into a two-legged playoff with an Asian country for an additional berth.
Reporting by Claudio Cerda; writing by Rex Gowar in London; Editing by John O'Brien