In arguably the most highly-anticipated showdown of Group B at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, current champions Spain will face dark horse South American outfit Chile at the Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday morning, 5am AEST.
Suffering a shock 5-1 drubbing at the hands of a red-hot Netherlands in their campaign-opener on Saturday, Spain will need to return to form fast if they are to beat a Chilean side full of confidence after surviving a spirited fight from Australia and winning 3-1.
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes Australia is currently offering the best odds on all fixtures at the 2014 FIFA World Cup including Thursday morning’s match between Spain and Chile, as well as a range of unique specialty markets.
How They Will Play
Since taking over the role as Spain’s head coach in 2008, Manager Vincente Del Bosque has employed a particularly controlling style of play; generally under a formation of 4-3-3 with plenty of coverage in the midfield to help retain and dominate possession.
While generally lacking a recognised sole striker, Spain are known for being the best in the world at holding the ball and taking advantage of their chances; often playing either Cesc Fabregas or Diego Costa in a ‘false 9’ role, which also allows benefits in defence.
Aiming to launch a full-on assault on Chile in an attempt to get their campaign back on track, Spain will likely field a back four of Alba, Ramos, Pique and Juanfran, and will be connected to the front of the pitch by a holding midfielder in Busquets; flanked by a likely box-to-box pairing of Alonso, Xavi, with David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta leading the attack.
Lacking a weakness over all corner over the field, Spain are spoiled for choice with arguably the World Cup’s most talented interchange roster, and are more than likely to dominate possession and play out most of the 90 minutes in Chile’s half.
Player To Watch – Xabi Alonso
Undoubtedly the key to Spain’s return to the winner’s circle against Chile, Xabi Alonso will dominate possession and control the flow of play from the centre of the pitch. Usually elected to maintain presence in the behind he forward line even when his team in attacking, the Real Madrid man I known for his pinpoint accurate passing game and adaptability to any system and formation designated by Del Bosque.
How They Will Play
Bursting from the gates in their victory over Australia, Chile managed to finish off two good chances prior to the 20 minute mark, however were stunned when the Socceroos managed to claw one back on a counter move and appeared to retreat into a negative and unnecessarily defensive pattern of play.
Needing to employ a far-more polished, well-round style against a far-more slick opponent, Chilean Manager Jorge Sampaoli is likely to field a 4-3-3 formation when facing off with Spain; ensuring a sturdy defence whilst still allowing standout weapons Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez opportunities to convert.
Fielding a versatile and aggressive team, Chile is more than capable of matching it with Spain, but will have to register arguably a tournament-best performance if they are to secure all three competition points and take a huge leap towards progression.
Key Player – Alexis Sanchez
Plying his trade weekly against many of his Spanish opponents at FC Barcelona, Alexis Sanchez arguably holds the key to success for Chile tomorrow morning. A skilful, pacey attacker, Sanchez is very familiar with the Spanish way of going, and will be full of confidence after a great performance against Australia last week. As intuitive as he is skilful, Sanchez is likely to be Chile’s go-to man if offered the chance to counter.
Spain are clear favourites to continue their winning ways at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and with such an incredible list of talent and priceless experience, Chile could find themselves well and truly in the red early. Spain will control the run of play, maintain possession and allow their attacking midfield plenty of chances to find the back of the net for the game’s entire 90 minutes.
Spain vs Chile World Cup Betting Plays
Spain are currently available at 2014 World Cup odds of $1.50 to beat Chile at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au, with the South American outfit offered little hope of success at generous $5.50 odds.
Expecting to spend most of his time on the back-heel, punters may find value in placing an anytime goal scorer bet of Chilean marksmen Alexis Sanchez at generous $3.20 odds, while those believing Spain will put a stranglehold on the match from the opening minutes can take Cesc Fabregas to score the opening goal at generous odds of $8.50.
Punters who believe Spain will win, but by less-than 2.5 goals can take advantage generous line odds off $2.15 for Chile to produce a close finish.
Ladbrokes.com.au is also offering all new punters the chance to claim a bonus bet of up to $250 in time for the 2014 World Cup fixture between Spain and Chile, just for signing up!