Group B is shaping up to be very interesting for the neutrals after world champions Spain were shocked in their opening match. They were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing from the Netherlands, who made up for their defeat in the 2010 final. Spain will have to win their last two matches to stand a chance of getting into the next round, but they will face another tough game on Wednesday against Chile. The South Americans showed they were dangerous in the final third against Australia and they will be boosted by knowing a draw would probably be enough to secure their qualification from the group, given Spain’s delicate goal difference.
Spain will be reeling after the match with the Netherlands and it is difficult to predict how they will react against Chile. They are a side of winners, therefore you would expect a strong reaction, but the loss may have had a psychological effect. There are doubts about Spain now, which were not widespread before the kick off. It appears that they may have peaked and are now on their way back to mortal levels. On the other hand, it may have been a blip and they could still go on and win the tournament. They did, after all, win the 2010 World Cup after a defeat in the first game.
Meanwhile, Chile gave an accomplished performance against Australia. They were far from their best, but they got the job done and they will only get better as the tournament progresses. Their counter attacking style will prove Spain a lot of problems as it did against Holland. Chile will be hoping to keep it tight at the back and attack with pace then they retrieve the ball. Their main weakness showed against Australia as they struggled to deal with crosses into the box, with Tim Cahill causing all sorts of problems. This won’t be as big of a problem against Spain who don’t like to play direct football, even if they have Diego Costa up front.
Chile have no major injury concerns going into the match after Arturo Vidal recovered from his injury to start against Australia. He isn’t fully fit though and will continue getting his match fitness back in this match.
David De Gea is struggling with a muscular problem and will be unavailable for this match. Iker Casillas had a poor game against Holland and could be replaced on Wednesday.
- The group containing Chile and Spain in 2010 only had 8 goals scored. Group B has already had ten goals.
- Alexis Sanchez is the first Chilean to get a goal and an assist in a World Cup game.
- Spain conceded five or more goals for the first time in an international match since for the first time since 1963.
It will be crucial that Spain remain solid when they are out of possession against Chile after they looked clueless when Holland were attacking on Friday. If they don’t improve, they could be knocked out in the first week of the tournament, which would be disastrous for a side that has won the last three major tournaments that they have competed in. Sergio Busquets will be crucial on Wednesday as his role is to sit in front of the back four and help out defensively. In a side that plays possession based football, he will be expected to play a role offensively in getting the ball from defence to attack. His pass success rate in La Liga was 92.5% which highlights how good he is on the ball as well as his impressive tackling skills. He also makes on average 1.8 interceptions per game, showing his excellent reading of the play.
Although the Juventus midfielder isn’t fully fit, he will be key to Chile against Spain as they will need an all action display to deal with Spain’s possession. He will be an asset when they have the ball as he can play through balls to release the quick attackers that Chile possess, while his aerial ability could come into play from set pieces, as Spain didn’t look comfortable at defending them against Holland. He is also a very strong tackler, therefore he will be needed to win the ball back from the talented Spain midfield. Offensively he can create a lot of problems after scoring eleven times in the league for his club. It is still unknown how bad his injury is, but he is still expected to start this week.
This match is intriguing on paper as Spain need to win, but Chile play the type of football that could really unsettle the Spanish players. Also it is impossible to predict how Spain will react to the body blow that came as a result of the Holland match. Chile wll be on a high after beating Australia and they’ll know they have an excellent chance of progressing if they avoid defeat against the holders. Spain beat Chile 2-1 at the same stage in 2010, and the two sides drew 2-2 when they faced each other in a friendly last year. I expect Spain to be a lot better, but Chile will have enough to get a draw. Both teams will be pursuing a win though, Chile will not play for the draw.