Spain v Chile Preview

Group B | Wednesday June 18 | Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro | 21:00




South Americans Chile take on wounded world champions Spain on Wednesday at the Estadio Maracana. La Roja will be looking to redeem themselves following their humiliating defeat at the hands of Netherlands while the Chileans will be hoping to follow up on their impressive victory over Australia and book their place in the knockout stages.

To Win (90mins)
Spain 11/20 
Draw 3/1 
Chile 48/10

SPAIN

Spain's failure in every area of the pitch led to such a heavy opening World Cup defeat, but it was all the more painful for the La Roja defence, where Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique found themselves out of their depth.

The two centre-backs simply weren't good enough on the night. Much had been said about Javi Martínez possibly starting at the heart of La Roja's defence, especially given the Bayern man's great form in Spain's three most recent friendlies and the doubts surrounding Pique's fitness.

Spain's 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands has forced La Roja to puzzle over how they can qualify for the World Cup knock-out stages in Brazil.

The stats are clear: in order to not depend on other results, Spain have to beat Chile and thrash Australia. A three-way tie is eminently plausible, while it is also possible that Netherlands could run away with the group, with Spain and Chile finishing equal on six points.

According to Fifa World Cup regulations, qualification will initially be decided by points, and in the case of a tie, goal difference, goals scored and then head-to-head results.

Right now, Spain have a goal difference of -4 and Chile +2, which leaves Del Bosque's men in a complicated situation.

In order to qualify, Spain have to win their remaining games, but they could still go out on goal difference or head-to-head, if other results do not go their way.

Hence the importance of putting a good number of goals past potential whipping boys Australia. But first they’ll need to overcome a lethal Chilean side.

While Del Bosque won’t be expected to make wholesale changes, we could see him opt to start with Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez and new Chelsea signing Cesc Fabregas to inject a fresh and vibrant approach.

In 2010 Spain lost their opening match to Switzerland 1-0 and went on to later win the tournament, but the way they got battered by the Dutch in the first game makes it a completely different situation. 

CHILE

Chile helped pile the pressure on champions Spain after sealing an eventually comfortable 3-1 win over Australia in their World Cup Group B opener on Friday.

Early goals from Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia put the South Americans in front before Tim Cahill's brilliant header gave the Socceroos a lifeline, only for Jean Beausejour's fine injury-time strike to seal the victory.

The result meant Spain have a lot of ground to make up following their 5-1 trouncing by the Netherlands in the earlier Group B match.

The South Americans are not only widely tipped to get out of a group containing both Spain and Netherlands, their high-energy, attacking style and goalscoring talent Barcelona’s Sanchez are likely to make them the neutrals’ favourites in Brazil.

They have the confident swagger of a team that has discovered their footballing identity and will be difficult opponents for the reigning champions.

For all their tactical sophistication, Sampaoli has stressed that Chile need their big players, such as Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas and Arturo Vidal, to be on top form if they are to make an impact in Brazil.

Sanchez offers pace, trickery and goals either from wide or through the middle. He was at his tyrannical best as he tormented the Australian defence in the early stages of the contest.

The Barcelona forward scored with a close range shot after a defensive mix-up, before he then set-up Valdivia who drove home from just outside the box.

Boasting their best ever squad for a World Cup, Chile have been strongly tipped by many - including Pele - to go far in the tournament despite being thrown in the same group as two of Europe's top teams.

Betting Prediction: SPAIN 11/20
The game could prove to be a tight affair between the two sides as both teams will be going all out for the win. The reigning champions will be hoping to put their disappointing loss to Netherlands behind them with a strong performance against a tough Chile team. Del Bosque’s side have what it takes to edge past Chile and should get an important victory here.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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