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World Cup Preview: Chile vs Australia

The latest World Cup preview looks at Chile and Australia who meet on Friday in Group B. Kick-off is at 11.00pm from the Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá on Friday. Chile will be favourites to get their campaign off to a winning start in what is one of the most difficult groups at this year’s competition.

Form guide

Chile finished 3rd in the South American qualification with nine wins, one draw and six defeats. Their most recent result was a 2-0 friendly victory against Northern Ireland. Australia finished 2nd in Group B behind Japan in their qualification group. The Socceroos have drawn with South Africa 1-1 and lost to Croatia in their most recent friendly games in the build up to the World Cup.

Key players

Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez enjoyed a good season with Barcelona personally, scoring 19 goals in La Liga. He is likely play a different role for Chile in a two-man attack rather than a wide position. He proved how effective he was in this role terrorising England and scoring two goals at Wembley back in November.

Sanchez impressed at the 2010 World Cup as a quick wide man on the right hand side but is likely to be deployed in a more central role at this year’s finals in Brazil.

Tim Cahill

Cahill is now a veteran for the Socceroos but remains pivotal to their hopes and is also their main scoring threat. The former Everton front man has 32 goals at international level which is no mean feat for a player that rarely plays as an out and out striker.

Cahill’s late runs into the box will be a potent weapon for this Australian side. He will need to be watched at set pieces as his aerial ability and eye for detail will pose major threats to the Chilean defence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDAXk1nfn1Q

Team news

Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has been ruled out of the opener and is a major loss to the Chilean side. Expect Chile to adopt a 3-5-2 formation with Alexis Sanchez up front with Valencia Eduardo Vargas. Mauricio Isla of Juventus and Wigan’s Jean Beausejour will provide width in their wing back roles.

Expect Australia to play a 4-2-3-1 with Tim Cahill in attack and captain Mile Jedinak in a defensive midfield role.

Verdict

Chile are a team worth keeping an eye on at this World Cup and with Vidal (when fit) and Sanchez they have world class talent at their disposal. The pace of Eduardo Vargas and Sanchez up front should be too much for Australia to handle.

The Socceroos have been put into a very difficult group and may struggle with the quality they are up against. One would think Chile will win comfortably, possibly by as many as four goals.  Chile at 19/5 looks a decent bet.

Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.