Sanchez's rise offers hope

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Alexis Sanchez is one of the most promising players to emerge in recent years.

A product of the Cobreloa youth academy, this emotional player is a classic attacking midfielder.

On the small side at five-foot-five, he has tremendous pace and dribbling ability especially at speed. He has been compared to Argentinian midfield phenom Lionel Messi, who has recently become the young general on the Argentine national side.

Sanchez is adept with both feet and has a thunderous shot. Along with Arturo Vidal, another member of the under-20 national team, Sanchez's rise offers hope to a Chilean senior national side which has struggled in recent years. Sanchez has already been capped on the senior national team. The potential is evident with the surprising showing of Chile's team in this tournament. He has played at every level for Chile beginning with the under-16 national team.

Grouped with host Canada, Austria and the Congo in what was considered a weak group, Chile and Austria have both made it to the semifinals, due in part to the play of Sanchez and Vidal. Sanchez has struggled with some injuries in this tournament, but has shown flashes of the brilliance that earned him a contract with Udinese in the Italian Serie A and serious inquiries from the German Club Werder Breman and Spanish side Villareal.

He missed the opening game against Canada, but scored a goal and created numerous other opportunities in Chile's 3-0 win over the Congo. Chile has yet to concede a goal in the tournament.

If there is one issue with the young talent, it's temperament. Like many young Latin players, he can be volatile and lose his focus during a game.

CHILE

ALEXIS SANCHEZ #7

Full name is Alexis Alejandro Sanchez . . . Born Dec. 19, 1988, in Tocopilla, Chile . . . He recently was signed by the Chilean side, Colo-Colo . . . Began his professional career with the Chilean club Cobreloa . . . Played one season there before being signed by Italian Serie A team, Udinese . . . Udinese paid nearly $3 million for Sanchez. Colo-Colo then paid Udinese nearly $150,000 so he could play in two tournaments for them.


Videos

Photos