Chile hires Lasarte as coach ahead of World Cup qualifiers

<p>SANTIAGO, Chile &mdash; Martín Lasarte has been hired to coach Chile’s national soccer team, replacing Reinaldo Rueda.</p>
<p>The Chilean soccer federation said the deal with the 59-year-old Lasarte will be extended if the team qualifies for next year’s World Cup. The federation announced the hiring on Wednesday.</p>
<p>Chile is in sixth place in the South American qualifying group. The top four teams automatically qualify for the tournament in Qatar. The fifth-place team will go into an inter-continental playoff.</p>
<p>Lasarte is a former player from Uruguay who coached several teams in South America as well as Real Sociedad in Spain and Al-Ahly in Egypt. He won five titles in Uruguay, three in Chile, another in Egypt and helped Real Sociedad get promoted to the first division in Spain.</p>
<p>Rueda left the job in January to take over at Colombia.</p>
<p>Chile will next face Paraguay on March 25 and then travel to Ecuador for another match five days later.</p>
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