Spain vs Australia Preview | FIFA World Cup 2014: Group B

Spain vs Australia Preview | FIFA World Cup 2014: Group B

Although both teams are already out of the World Cup, they will be keen to avoid losing all three of their group matches. Australia will be the ones who will take more positives from the tournament as they have shown they are a decent side, who can compete with the world’s best. The squad is young and will certainly make an impact over the next few years both in the Asia Cup and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Meanwhile, Spain will have a lot of work to do before the next tournament as they will look to replace some of their older players, who don’t look as good on the international stage anymore.

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Spain have severely under-performed in Brazil, getting knocked out after just two matches. Many thought they would be one of the teams capable of winning the tournament, but they look to be a long way from the level they were in 2010. This is the an end of an era for 21st century football, as Spain have been a dominating force since 2008, with a brand of football that has been great on the eye and very effective. It has lost some of it’s x-factor in recent years, but with a few tweaks tiki taka will be back and you would be a fool to suggest that Spain will not be challenging at future tournaments. They just need to alter their approach somewhat.

The direct style of Australia has caused a lot of problems for Holland and Chile. It could have a similar effect against Spain, who will not like the aerial duels, especially when it comes to crosses and set pieces, as Australia have the potential to do a lot of damage. They will be missing Tim Cahill who has a one match suspension, but they still have the players to compete with Spain. They will look at Spain’s form and feel confident about getting something from the world champions, but Cahill will be a huge miss.

Interesting Stats

  • Spain have conceded more goals at this World Cup than they did at Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup combined. That shows somewhat why they will be departing at the group stage.
  • Australia have conceded in each of their last nine World Cup matches, showing that they are always liable to leak goals.

Key Men

Iniesta

His performances have been under par compared to his usual standards with his pass completion in the opening game being 85.1%, which is very low for the Barcelona midfielder. He is set to gain his 100th cap in this match, which will be bitter-sweet for him as no doubt he would have wanted to reach the landmark during a successful tournament. The whole Spain midfield have struggled in this World Cup, but Iniesta will want to impress in the final group game. His ball retention and dribbling abilities will cause the leaky Australian defence problems. The midfielder is certainly capable of winning this match on his own.

Jedinak

Mile Jedinak has looked at home against some of the world’s best players this summer and he’ll be keen to show his abilities against the excellent Spanish midfield. He scored from the spot against Holland and he could prove to be a threat from set pieces as he is brilliant in the air, as shown by his aerial duels won per game of 4.4 last season in the Premier League. He is also an efficient tackler  and that will be important as he will need to win possession back to prevent Spain dominating the match. If Jedinak plays well on Monday, Australia have a great chance of avoiding defeat.

Team News

Xavi is likely to miss the match with a muscular problem and he is probably going to bow out of international football after the World Cup. Pepe Reina is going to start according to Vicente Del Bosque.

Tim Cahill misses the game through suspension after scoring twice in the first two games. Ivan Franjic has flown home, so he will not be available for selection.

Verdict

I think it will be an open game with both teams playing without pressure, given that this match is basically a friendly, but both teams will want to avoid finishing the tournament with three losses. It could be that an entertaining draw is the outcome with attacking football being played by both sets of players. Both countries will be keen to move on and get on with their future challenges, but they must get this match out of the way first. Australia will cause Spain problems with their direct football and that will be enough to see them avoid defeat.

Spain 2-2 Australia