November 14, 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Claudio Borghi was fired as Chile coach after a 3-1 loss to Serbia on Wednesday in an international friendly, the team's fifth defeat in a row.

Borghi said he was asked to step aside only minutes after the defeat in St. Gallen, Switzerland, adding that he would miss what he called the best chapter of his life.

Borghi, an Argentine, took over the national team in February 2011 after Marcelo Bielsa stepped down.

He had been under fire due to the run of losses and a tense relationship with several players and the media, some of whom said he would never be able to adequately replace Bielsa.

Bielsa, who is also an Argentine, qualified Chile for the 2010 World Cup and got the team to the second round. He was very popular with fans but left the team after a dispute with the Chilean football federation, moving to Spanish club Athletic Bilbao.

Chile has struggled in South American qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. At the midway point, Argentina has 20 points to lead the standings, three ahead of Ecuador and four up on Colombia. Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela have 12 each.

The top four qualify for the World Cup and the fifth team faces a playoff for a further spot. Brazil qualifies automatically as host.

Chile will have time to find a new coach. South American qualifying for the World Cup resumes in June.

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