Guided by coach Luis Alamos, Chile qualified for the 1974 World Cup after a controversial play-off with the USSR. Following a drawn first leg in Moscow, the Soviets refused to play the second leg at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, which had been used as a concentration camp by the military dictatorship of Pinochet.
However, FIFA refused to switch the match to a neutral venue, so the Chilean players kicked off on an otherwise empty pitch, and scored into the unguarded USSR net, and because there was no opposition to restart the game, the referee awarded the match to Chile, ensuring they qualified for the 1974 finals.
Played in Group A at the 1974 World Cup, Chile lost their opening game 1–0 to the host, West Germany in Berlin. Striker Carlos Caszely was sent off in the second half, thus becoming the first player awarded a red card in the tournament's history since the cards went into use. Under the guard Elias Figuero (Chilean
hero player) the team fought out a 1–1 draw with East Germany, again in Berlin. Martin Hoffmann put East Germany ahead, but Sergio Ahumada equalised with 20 minutes left. Finally, they played out a goalless draw against Australia, which eliminated both teams.