These are tough times for Spain. After winning the World Cup four years ago, Spain will crash out in Brazil if they lose to Chile. Our Spain expert Dermot Corrigan goes head-to-head with Chile expert Joel Sked in our latest expert v expert preview – and both are expecting goals.
Dermot Corrigan on Spain: There were calls for sweeping changes after the opening game 5-1 humiliation by Netherlands, but Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has said he will make only “two or three” changes to his XI for game two. A more physical side is expected, with Koke and Javi Martinez among those tipped to come in. Captain Iker Casillas will keep his place in goal, especially as David De Gea hurt a hip muscle in training. Diego Costa should start again.
Joel Sked on Chile: The only player with an injury concern is Carlos Carmona (tendinitis). While not fully fit Arturo Vidal told press that he is close to 100 per cent. He will likely play at the tip of the midfield in a 3-4-1-2, behind Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas. Midfielder Francisco Silva will come in for Jorge Valdivia to play as the libero in the middle of the three man defence as Jorge Sampaoli looks to solidify the defence.
Dermot Corrigan: It’s difficult to look beyond their most recent game - and the real question is whether Spain’s collective spirit and team morale has survived such a shellacking by the Dutch. La Roja did lose their opening game 1-0 to Switzerland four years ago, and bounced back to win the tournament, but Friday’s shock to the system was much greater. History also suggests Chile’s all-energy approach can rattle the Spanish. Four years ago in South Africa they just about beat then coach Marcelo Bielsa’s side 2-1. More recently Del Bosque's men struggled in a friendly last September, when they needed an injury time Jesus Navas equaliser to draw 2-2.
Joel Sked: Chile were superb in the opening 20 minutes against Australia as they showed the world the very best they have to offer: speed, movement, directness, fearlessness and technical brilliance. However, the intensity dropped with Australia playing their way into the game and scoring through Tim Cahill. Australia were the team on the up, although the second half was quiet until Jean Beasejour confirmed the three points from the defence. There has been steady improvement for Chile in their last three games but will have to play at pace for a lot longer to beat Spain. This will be the third meeting between the sides since 2010 with Spain winning two and the other being a draw.
WHAT THE MANAGER SAYS
Del Bosque on Spain: “I was worried after the Holland game, but that does not bring you anywhere. We must lift ourselves up as we’re still alive. We know what is on the line now.”
Sampaoli on Chile: “The possibility of removing Spain from the World Cup is extremely complicated. It will be an electrifying match.”
Dermot Corrigan: If Del Bosque does keep faith in Casillas then Chile will no doubt look to test his confidence early on with long range shots or high balls into the box. Any early nervousness from the captain could again run through the whole team, and Chile’s all-action style is perfect for taking advantage of doubts in opponents. Conversely, if ‘San Iker’ comes through an early challenge then his teammates can get flowing again.
Joel Sked: Jorge Sampaoli still has reservations over the defence with Francisco Silva being brought in to strengthen the back line. The best way to defend is to keep the ball for longer so diminutive ball-player Marcelo Díaz will once again be crucial in prompting attacks and trying to keep Chile at a rhythm that suits them and not Spain. He has not quite reached his peak in his last three games but if he gets close against Spain, Chile will have a good chance to prevail.
Dermot Corrigan: Goals look very likely here. The last three meetings brought 12 in total, and both teams look much, much better in attack than defence right now. Spanish pundits have also been talking a lot about improving their goal difference given the chance of three teams finishing with six points in the group. So total goals over 3.5 at 2.65 looks tempting.
Joel Sked: In the build up to the game Arturo Vidal used the word suicidal to describe how Chile play and he said it wouldn't change against Spain. This is set up to be one of the game's of the tournament let alone the group stage. Spain need to win and Chile will attack. I can see a lot of goals in what has already been a tournament full of goals so both team to score in the first half at 4.30 is very tempting.
Dermot Corrigan: Spain 3-1 Chile at odds of 12.50
Joel Sked: Spain 2-2 Chile at odds of 14.00
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