Friday, June 18, 2010

Mark Gonzalez enjoying 'dream' tournament

Chile winger Mark Gonzalez has double reason for wanting to prolong his "dream" first appearance at a FIFA World Cup.The 25-year-old former Liverpool player was born in Durban and then lived in Johannesburg until the age of 10 as his father Raul, also a Chile international, played in South African football. Gonzalez, who appeared as a late substitute in Chile's impressive 1-0 win over Honduras on Wednesday, still has family in the country and is keen to visit them.

Gonzalez, now a CSKA Moscow player, said: "I think playing in the World Cup is the greatest thing that can happen to a soccer player. It is a dream come true. I don't know how to express how happy I feel or how we feel to be here. I have seen a few of my family, my uncle and a few cousins, but I haven't seen them all yet. They were at the game but I am looking forward to playing in Johannesburg or Pretoria so I can see more of them."

Chile will play in Pretoria in their final Group H match against Spain but they will have to reach the knockout stages to travel to the capital. The South Americans, in their first finals since 1998, can take a big step towards the second round if they can see off Switzerland in Port Elizabeth next Monday.

After that they must then turn their attention to their tough clash against European champions Spain and Gonzalez hopes to come into his own for that particular game. The former Real Betis and Real Sociedad player said: "I know all their players, their qualities and their skills. I know everything about their team. We all know what Spain are, they have very important players and are very dangerous. But we know we have the supporters in Chile and the family behind us. That is a very big motivation. It is the first time we have played a World Cup and we just want to do our best."

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