Australia v Spain – More Pain For Spain?Stats
Australia v Spain
Few, if any, would have predicted that Spain would be playing their last group game with Australia with little to play for bar avoiding the wooden spoon but that’s how it’s panned out in Brazil.
Having lost their second group game 2-0 to Chile, the Spaniards became the fifth team to fall at the first hurdle in their World Cup defence and it’s been little short of a catastrophe for Vicente Del Bosque’s side since they arrived in Brazil. Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz grabbed the goals for Chile in the first half to condemn Spain to a second defeat on the spin and looking at the earliest possible flight home. That defeat came on the back of a 5-1 mauling at the hands of Holland in the opening Group B clash but it all had all looked so different until a second half capitulation cost Spain dearly. Xabi Alonso’s penalty gave his side the lead against the Dutch before a stunning header from Robin van Persie on the stroke of half-time levelled matters. What came next however was as unpredictable as it was thrilling when Holland ran riot after the break as a brace from Arjen Robben, a second for Van Persie and Stefan de Vrij’s header put their opponents to the sword and showed that the world and double European champions were no longer the force of old.
Australia could certainly count themselves unlucky to also be faced with elimination at the group stages as the have deserved far more than the consecutive defeats they suffered to Chile and the Dutch. Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia had made it look like the Chileans would stroll to victory in their group opener with the Socceroos but a fine Tim Cahill header got them back into the game before half-time. The Aussies performed well in the second half and put their fancied opponents under real pressure but were ultimately undone by Jean Beausejour’s late strike. Australia’s next game was supposed to see Holland coast to victory but proved to be the game of the tournament to date as the Netherlands get the better of a five-goal thriller. Robben’s run from deep and fine finish opened the scoring before a stunning volley from Cahill sent the teams in all square at the break. Mile Jedinak’s penalty then put Australia into the lead but a rifled finish from Van Persie evened matters once more and substitute Memphis Depay won it for his side with a strike from distance.
Del Bosque could ring the changes for Spain with goalkeeper Iker Casillas under real threat of being dropped following two poor performances so Pepe Reina could replace the Real Madrid man as David de Gea is carrying an injury. The likes of Koke, David Villa, Santi Cazorla and Fernando Torres could also earn recalls to the starting XI following their team-mates dismal showings so far.
A second booking of the World Cup rules Cahill out for Australia and he will be sorely missed. Fellow veteran Mark Bresciano is a doubt as he was replaced with an ongoing muscle problem in the second half against the Netherlands and may find this game a stretch too far.
These sides have never met before in a senior international game.
Despite their awful performances in the tournament to date Spain are still big favourites at 2/5 with Australia at a whooping 15/2 despite their own fine showings.
The Spaniards will be smarting though and those who have missed out will be eager to show they should have been in the team before it was too late.
In what has proved a highly unpredictable group a gut shot bet may be worth a shot here and I wouldn’t put it past the Socceroos to get something out of this game, although both teams scoring in a Spanish victory may make more sense at a tasty 7/4.