The eliminated champions have been embarrassed in Brazil and will look to avoid a final humiliation against the Socceroos before they go home
Spain have lost their crown and the World Cup holders’ humiliating defence of their title will come to an end on Monday. Vicente Del Bosque’s men will be looking for a victory over Australia to avoid further embarassment.
Both Spain and Australia are already eliminated from the tournament, but the story is far more humbling for the Europeans. They have only managed to score one goal so far – the opener in their disastrous 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands – and were brushed aside at the Maracana as defeat to Chile sealed their fate.
No defending champions has ever exited a tournament without securing a single point and there is pride to play for following the end of Spain’s dominance of international football.
Changes are expected after the tournament and Del Bosque is expected to give some of his stars their final minutes in a Spain shirt, with Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa among those who may no longer be part of La Roja’s plans.
The decision to select Diego Costa has backfired, with the forward lacking form and fitness, while captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas is still in the firing line following his horror show against the Netherlands and could be replaced by Pepe Reina.
The Spain coach is also likely to give some game time to some of the younger and less experienced members of his squad such as Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke.
It has been a far more encouraging World Cup for Australia, despite two defeats from two matches.
The Socceroos caused Chile problems before pushing Holland all the way in a 3-2 defeat that included a contender for goal of the tournament from Tim Cahill.
The former Everton man has scored two of Australia’s three goals in Brazil but is suspended for the Spain clash after picking up yellow cards in both of his team’s matches.
Mathew Leckie, who impressed on the right against Holland, is expected to take Cahill’s role as Australia’s lone striker, with Ben Halloran coming in to play out wide.