In the first pair of matches in World Cup Group B, Chile will take on Australia. These teams are considered by many to be the underdogs. Spain and the Netherlands, the finalist of the 2010 World Cup, are expected to advance. However, Chile’s pace and strength in midfield makes them a contender, and that will be on display against Australia. In the previous four matchups between the two nations, Chile has taken three, and that trend will continue.
Chile scored 26 goals in 19 World Cup qualifying matches and will have that firepower available to them in the competition. Attacking midfielder Arturo Vidal returned last week and looked great in his return from injury. Vidal will pair with speedy attacker Alexis Sanchez, who is a pivotal player for Barcelona. While Vidal was absent, he maintained the threatening attack for Chile.
Jorge Sampaoli lost only two of the first 15 matches after he was named coach of the national team. He has employed an attacking style that has been bought into by his players. The level-headed Gary Medel is usually the last man back, which gives Sampaoli peace of mind.
This style is expected to be replicated by Australia coach Ange Postecoglou, who prefers an attacking style as well. However, that attack will be centered around only one person. New York Red Bulls‘ Tim Cahill is a worthy player to place that on, but he will not be enough. Cahill is happy to play the underdog, however, his team will not see the bulk of possession, and their defensive liabilities will be exposed by Chile.
This match could be scoreless as the teams feel each other out into the 40th minute. However, Chile’s pace and fitness will wear down the Socceroos. A victory for Chile will propel them into a battle with the Netherlands for second place in Group B, and their confidence will give them a great chance for the round of 16.