Spain: Casillas; Azpilicueta, Sergio Ramos, Martinez, Jordi Alba; Xabi Alonso, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro; Costa.
According to Spanish reports, Man United’s David de Gea is out for the rest of the group stage with a leg injury, which in turn would mean Iker Casillas is expected to remain in goal despite his horror show last week.
Chile: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Jara, Mena; Aránguiz, Diaz, Vidal; Valdivia, Sánchez, Vargas.
Spain will be looking to restore their pride after the humiliating 1:5 display in their World Cup opener against Holland this past Friday.
La Furia Roja’s thrashing by the Dutch shocked the entire football world, and marked the heaviest margin of defeat by a reigning World Cup champion in the history of the tournament. We have grown accustomed to the elegant tiki taka of the Spanish side: Xavi and Iniesta’s magic in midfield, the stellar defensive work by Ramos and Pique, and the always reliable Casillas in goal. All of the above factors of the Spanish football dynasty, perhaps the greatest one in the history of the game, fell apart in what could only be described as a colossal failure and dysfunction with the entire squad.
It’s hard to imagine Iker Casillas, one of the world’s greatest goalkeepers giving away balls as an amateur and crawling after Holland’s Robben like a man desperate for the referee to blow the final whistle and put an end to his misery. It’s even harder to imagine seasoned Pique, the rock of Barcelona mistiming balls, and allowing Robben and van Persie a field day in the Spanish box.
Vincent del Bosque is very likely to make several changes to his devastated side. While Casillas is expected to remain in goal mainly due to David de Gea’s injury, Pique is in danger of losing his spot to Bayern’s Javi Martinez who can also play the role of central defender. David Silva, who disappointed against Holland, will be replaced by Pedro for pace and agility up and down the right side, while Diego Costa could get a second chance against a weak Chile defence, despite a rather unnoticeable match last week.
The Chileans are arriving on the back of a 3:1 victory over Australia during the first round of Group B. Jorge Sampaoli’s men got off to a perfect start, scoring two goals within two minutes and missing further opportunities to add to the scoreline. It all appeared to be a walk in the park for the South Americans, but after scoring the second they stopped playing and allowed to Australians to put Tim Cahill up on the board, and the Socceroos very close to equalising.
Arturo Vidal is still not at 100% fitness, but is expected to start against Spain, with the hope within the Chile camp that he will be able to play the full 90 minutes this time.
Expect an open clash, with Spain arriving highly motivated and with a point to prove to the world, it will be hard to stand in their way and resist, despite Chile’s qualities.
Prediction: Spain 3 – Chile 1
Some essential facts and stats to help with online betting:
Chile have never beaten Spain in their 10 previous encounters.
Spain have won the two previous meetings with Chile at the World Cup: in 1950 (2-0) and in 2010 (2-1). The game in 1950
was played at the Maracanã; which is where this encounter is taking place.
Chile have lost their two previous World Cup games against the defending champion, both against Brazil (in 1962 and 1998).
In their group opener against the Netherlands, Spain conceded 5+ goals in an international for the first time since losing 6-2 to Scotland in June 1963.
Only once before had Spain conceded 5+ goals in a World Cup game (1-6 vs Brazil in Brazil in 1950).
Spain lost their opening game of the 2010 World Cup finals (0-1 v Switzerland) but became the first team to ever lift the World Cup trophy after having lost their opening game of the tournament.
Alexis Sanchez has been involved in seven of the last eight goals that Chile have scored (six assists and one goal).
Spain have not lost back to back internationals since October 2006.
The Spaniards conceded more goals in their match against Netherlands, than they had in their previous nine international matches combined.