Chile manager Juan Antonio Pizzi has failed to confirm whether Alexis Sanchez is ready to start against Argentina on Thursday (23 March) after the Arsenal forward suffered an ankle injury on weekend. The boss confirmed that some players joined the national team with fitness issues but suggested that only Gary Medel is a doubt to face Lionel Messi and Co.
The Arsenal star had to be replaced in the second half of the weekend's 3-2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion after a challenge from James McClean.
Arsene Wenger said after the game that Sanchez's ankle was in "terrible state" – sparking concerns about his participation in the Chile coming World Cup qualifier against Argentina and Venezuela.
"He was injured from the tackle in the first half. His ankle is in an absolutely terrible state," the Arsenal boss was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "He should not have played in the second half but he insisted. In the first half he created many dangerous situations but in the second half he couldn't anymore, so we had to take him off. I think Chile goes to Argentina for a massive game and they play next week. If it's only a kick then he will play. But his ankle is swollen. If the ligament is damaged, he will not play."
However, Sanchez eventually travelled to South America and on Tuesday posted a picture on instagram while training with a blue ankle strap.
Reports in Chile have since said that the Arsenal forward is surely going to lead the line-up in the crucial World Cup qualifier with Argentina as Arturo Vidal is suspended.
Speaking in the press conference ahead of the game, Pizzi has confirmed that some players joined up the camp with some fitness issues but failed to address the individual case of the Arsenal star.
Asked whether he expects to have all his players available to face Argentina, the manager said: "Some players arrived (to Chile) with problems but they have shaken them off in the following days. They have improved. Some have not been able to complete the training session but they have improved."
"We'll wait until tomorrow and we'll make the best decision. We have to keep in mind that we have two matches and both are as important. We have to be smart and make a plan for both games because the two are just as important."
"I have already decided my starting line-up but I am not going to tell you. I have clear how to play Argentina but there are still 24 hours left and we will make a decision."
Gary Medel was also doubt to face Argentina after suffering an injury on weekend while playing for Inter Milan.
And asked whether the midfielder will be ready to star, the boss said: "He has improved a lot. He came with a problem from Italy and tomorrow we will make a decision ."