Chile head into their final two World Cup qualifiers knowing that nothing less than two victories over Ecuador and Brazil will guarantee them a play-off spot in their bid to reach Russia next year.
The Copa America champions currently sit sixth in the South American table, with only the top four guaranteed a place at the 2018 World Cup, while fifth will face New Zealand in a two-legged play-off.
Alexis Sanchez and his team-mates face Ecuador at home on Thursday, who themselves have an outside shot at qualification, before facing a daunting trip to play runaway leaders Brazil next Tuesday.
Jaun Antonio Pizzi’s side have lost three of their last four qualifiers as they’ve watched their spot in Russia slip away from their grasp.
A devastating 1-0 defeat to Bolivia last time out in September has left the side with no margin for error, and there was nothing but steely determination on show as the side trained in Santiago ahead of Thursday’s clash.
They are currently a point behind both Argentina and Peru, who face each other in Buenos Aires on Thursday. A win for Pizzi’s side over Ecauador means they will leapfrog at least one of their rivals.
Sanchez has joined the squad after playing for Arsenal in their 2-0 victory over Brighton on Sunday.
The forward did everything but score as he ran the show at the Emirates, setting up team-mate Alex Iwobi with a deft backheel to double Arsene Wenger’s side lead in the second half.
Chile will be hoping their star man can display a similar cutting edge in their upcoming fixtures, or the he and his team-mates may be spending the next summer watching football from the couch.