Chile come to Brazil with many pegging them to potentially make a surprise mad-dash through the group stage, upsetting the Netherlands in the process. They have proven recently in impressive displays against England, Spain, Brazil and Germany that they have what it takes to compete with the best the world has to offer.
Unfortunately for Chile, they will be without star midfielder Arturo Vidal for at least their opener against Australia. However, any further missed time could railroad Chile’s chances of getting out of the group.
Australia, such a perennial member of the World Cup, never really has a shot to get out of their group – this summer is no different. Apart from Group G, this is the other group that is loaded the heaviest, and they will have to do well to just avoid being completely obliterated in their three fixtures. They have a ton of pride in their nation however, so they will play with passion surely. Here now is our preview and predictions.
Projected Starting XI’s
Chile: Claudio Bravo; Gonzalo Jara, Gary Medel, Maurico Isla; Jean Beausejour, Felipe Gutierrez, Marcelo Diaz, Fabian Orellana; Jorge Valdivia; Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas
Australia: Mitchell Langerak; Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Ryan McGowan, Ivan Franjic; Tommy Oar, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Matt McKay, Matthe Leckie; Tim Cahill
Key’s for Chile:
– They must adjust quickly in this match without the influential play and presence of Vidal. They have a ton of quality and they need to have faith in that.
– Australia’s biggest strength is their presence on set pieces, especially through Tim Cahill. Limiting the amount of set-pieces they surrender will be key.
– Keeping their work ethic up to their expected levels. Australia lack top quality but they will work hard and be passionate, so Chile must respond in kind.
Key’s for Australia:
– Making sure Tim Cahill see’s as much service in the box as possible. He is a monster in the box and Chile lack legitimate height in their back-line.
– Finding a way to collectively keep Alexis Sanchez under control. Even without Vidal to supply him, Sanchez has loads of quality to create chances on his own.
– Fighting as hard as possible in the midfield to stop any Chilean attacking move before it begins – the match will be dictated here without question.
– Mile Jedinak v Jorge Valdivia – With Vidal guaranteed to be out for this one, Valdivia still provides plenty of creativity. Jedinak must find a way to keep him quiet.
– Gary Medel v Tim Cahill – Cahill’s strength, presence in the box and ability in the air can potentially give Medel a headache all match. Keeping Cahill under lock and key is a must.
– Mitchell Langerak v Chile – The Borussia Dortmund backup keeper is a quality shot-stopper, and his ability will be called upon against Alexis Sanchez and company in Chile’s attack.
Staff Match predictions
Drew: 4-1 to Chile. Australia will work hard, but their lack of quality comes to the fore. Chile are incredibly creative and will be able to carve out chances Australian’s very inexperienced back-line.
Young: 3-1 Chile. While Tim Cahill will find a way to catch Chile off guard, the South Americans just have too much they can bring to the match, while Australia lacks enough ability to keep them quiet.
Luke: 3-0 Chile. It’s pretty self explanatory. Australia has an easy-ish run in to make the tournament, but they do not have enough to make any sort of prolonged solid effort, especially against a side like Chile.
**Be sure to join us for our LiveBlog coverage of Spain v Netherlands tomorrow starting at 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST/11:00pm GMT – looking forward to seeing you all there!**