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Five things to look out for in Chile v Australia: Will Mark Bresciano start?

The availability of the experienced midfielder is a pressing concern ahead of the Socceroos' tournament opener and could dictate Ange Postecoglou's formation

1. Will Mark Bresciano start?

It's tough to know exactly where the 34-year-old is up to in his recovery from the back issue that cost him a place in the farewell friendly against South Africa and which has limited his training intensity since arriving in Brazil.

Ange Postecoglou declared him fit for selection ahead of the Croatia game and backed that up by bringing Bresciano on in the second half of the 1-0 loss in Bahia. He looked relatively sharp and a strong training week could yet see him named in the starting XI against Chile.

2. Which formation will Ange opt for?

The answer to this question is tied to the Bresciano issue. If the Al Gharafa midfielder starts, he will likely be the deepest member of the midfield trio in a 4-3-3. That means Mark Milligan and Mile Jedinak will be deployed slightly in advance of him, with Tommy Oar and Mathew Leckie wide left and wide right respectively and Tim Cahill up front.

If Bresciano isn't ready, Postecoglou is likely to opt for a 4-2-3-1. Jedinak and Milligan will hold the midfield, and it appears Tommy Oar is in pole position to play centrally behind the striker. Dario Vidosic started on the right and Leckie on the left against Croatia and would be likely to retain those spots, although Ben Halloran could still be a surprise starter ahead of Vidosic in a 4-2-3-1.

3. Can the Socceroos mount an attacking threat?

Australia struggled to create any meaningful chances against Croatia, who bore little resemblance in terms of intent or tactics to the Chile side the Socceroos will face on Friday. It will be a much faster, more intense contest in Cuiaba, with Jorge Sampaoli's men likely to throw themselves at their opponents and will potentially leave space at the back.

Quick balls over the top of the defence or in behind to release Leckie and Oar will be employed. If Australia succeed with that tactic, the wide men will be under orders to try and find the head or feet of Cahill with early crosses.

4. Physicality could be punished

What is it about Australia and roughing teams up? Four years ago Pim Verbeek slammed his players for committing some decidely heavy tackles in the farewell friendly against New Zealand at the MCG, warning them that any such challenges in South Africa would be met with a red card. We all know how that ended.

Fast forward to the present day and a much-changed team under a very different coach were at it again in Bahia. They weren't exactly lunging in on Croatia's dainty players, but there was a snap and bite to the Socceroos' challenges that evidently surprised their opponents. Ange Postecoglou was quick to dimiss suggestions his troops acted recklessly or malicously.

But not only will Chile, the Netherlands and Spain seize any opportunity to go down and win free-kicks if they receive the same treatment, more illadvised, strong-arm tactics could result in Australia going a man down, which will effectively pass a death sentence on their already slim hopes.

5. Can dark horses Chile live up to their billing?

The South Americans have looked dangerous in international friendlies during the 2013-14 season and are rightly considered significant threats to Spain and the Netherlands' chances of progressing from Group B. But with star midfielder Arturo Vidal in doubt for their three matches due to his slow comeback from minor knee surgery, could the pressure of a must-win game against the group's likely whipping boys - a team with absolutely nothing to lose - prompt Sampaoli's men to play below their potential in Cuiaba?

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