Chile v Australia – Socceroos To Lose
Chile v Australia
Chile face Australia in a Group B fixture on Friday night that is of much lesser profile, but no less significant than the repeat of the 2010 final taking place earlier in the night.
Chile have won four of their six World Cup warm-up games, only losing narrowly to international heavyweights Brazil and Germany over that period of fixtures.
They were impressive in their win at Wembley against England when Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez scored twice for the visitors but struggled to break the deadlock for long periods in their final pre-tournament game against Northern Ireland before they struck twice late in the game to seal the win over Michael O’Neill’s side.
Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli watched his side qualify for the finals after finishing third in South American qualifying, although of the nine sides competing in that qualification zone, only three conceded more goals.
Valencia’s Eduardo Vargas has scored three in the last two games for the Chileans, including the opener against Northern Ireland after coming off the bench and a brace against Egypt.
Australia’s performances since qualifying for the finals has been poor and illustrates why they are expected to struggle in the tournament, with only two wins form seven – and those came against Costa Rica and Canada.
They suffered successive 6-0 hammerings to Brazil and France toward the end of last year but bounced back with those two wins. They then raced into a 3-0 lead over Ecuador in their next game but eventually lost the game after conceding four times in just over half an hour at the end of the contest.
A 1-1 draw against South Africa followed and they completed their preparations with a narrow 1-0 loss to Croatia with Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic bagging the only goal of the game.
Jelavic’s former Everton team-mate, Tim Cahill, has scored four in his last four games for the Socceroos including a brace in that cruel defeat to Ecuador and has an impressive 32 strikes in 69 games for his country, a national record.
Barring any late injury scares both teams should be at full strength for their World Cup opener at the Arenena Pantanal in Cuiaba.
Chile rested many of their star performers including Sanchez – and the Juventus duo of Mauricio Isla and Arturo Vidal – to give a run out to some fringe squad members against Northern Ireland before they came off the bench in the second half but all are expected to figure from the outset here.
Head to Head
Chile have won three of the four meetings between these teams, while a scoreless draw is the best the Aussies have managed against these opponents – in their first ever clash at the World Cup in 1974.
The three following games came over a five year period at the end of the century, with the Chileans running out 2-1 winners in their most recent tie.
If they are to have any chance of qualifying Chile must win this game
and surely will with the quality available to them, though many may be put off by the 40/85 on offer.
Goal difference could be a factor in this group so they will strive for a big score and 6/4 on the handicap -1 looks a great punt while at slightly lesser odds of 5/4 Vargas is well worth backing to score anytime or 9/2 to socre first for those feeling more adventurous.