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Chile President Sebastian Pinera urged the country's World Cup team "to aim high" when he met it a day before it departs for South Africa. ((Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images))

Chile President Sebastian Pinera urged the country's World Cup team "to aim high" when he met it a day before it departs for South Africa.

Pinera and his wife, Cecilia Morel, were given team shirts on Thursday with their names on the back as they talked with players and coach Marcelo Bielsa in a private send-off.  

"This team has changed the face of Chilean football," Pinera said. "Always, always the team has had confidence in itself and left everything on the playing field. For this reason, I want to invite you to look far in the distance, aim high and think big things."  

Chile is playing in its first World Cup since 1998. It received bad news earlier in the week when top striker Humberto Suazo was told he was likely to miss Chile's opener on June 16 against Honduras. He injured his left hamstring in a weekend friendly against Israel. 

Suazo could also miss the second game on June 21 against Switzerland. Chile wraps up play in Group H on June 25 against European champion Spain.

Chile forward Mark Gonzalez said the injury to Suazo has thrown "a bucket of cold water" on team planning.