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World Cup

  • June 18, 2014
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
  • Referee: M. Geiger
  • • Attendance: 74101

Spain - Chile Preview: Del Bosque to make changes after humiliation

The 2010 champions must recover from the embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Netherlands, while the South Americans look to build on victory in their opener

By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro

Vicente Del Bosque has promised to make changes to the Spain starting line-up as he searches for a response to his side’s humiliating 5-1 defeat to Netherlands in their Group B opener.

As he faces questions of whether this tournament represents the end of an era, the Spain coach knows he has to do something to provide the answers, even if he won't abandon his philosophy.

"Of course there will be some changes, but I don't want to make any rash decisions," he said. "There's no need to single anybody out, we have 23 players available and we'll find the best possible solution."

Captain Iker Casillas is expected to keep his place in goal despite a performance he described as the worst of his career, especially with David De Gea ruled out for the rest of the group stage with a leg injury. Gerard Pique may not be so lucky after his horror show against the Dutch, with Javi Martinez ready to come in for a game Spain cannot afford to lose.

Del Bosque is likely to make changes in midfield as the World Cup holders look to recover from the defeat in their opening match – just as they did following their loss to Switzerland in South Africa four years ago.

Pedro’s anticipated inclusion will add some much-needed pace and energy in the final third, with David Silva the most likely casualty and Andres Iniesta likely to be moved out wide. Diego Costa could also make way for Cesc Fabregas, but the Atletico Madrid man’s physical threat could be useful against Chile’s lightweight defence.

Chile have no such selection headaches following their 3-1 victory over Australia on Friday.

Alexis Sanchez will be expected to lead the charge on the counterattack, with forward in impressive form off the back of his goal against Australia as he prepares to come up against a number of Barcelona team-mates.

Arturo Vidal lasted an hour in Cuiaba on his comeback from a knee operation in May but looked some way from match fitness. Coach Jorge Sampaoli will hope that the Juventus midfielder can last longer against the holders at the Maracana, where his energy will be needed on a huge pitch.

Chile looked suspect defending crosses against Australia and there have been suggestions that Sampaoli may consider bringing in Francisco Silva at centre-back, but he is expected to continue with Gary Medel and Eugenio Mena as his central defensive pairing.

Players to watch

Javi Martínez

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The Bayern Munich man looks almost certain to be selected in central defence - and he cannot perform any worse than Gerard Pique's performance against the Dutch. Spain looked vulnerable every time the Netherlands attacked in their opener and Martinez will be expected to shore up the backline. How he slot in and forms a partnership with Sergio Ramos will be key to Spain's success in keeping Chile out.

A. Sánchez

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The Barcelona forward got his tournament off to a flying start with a goal and assist against Australia and faces some familiar faces at the Maracana. Arjen Robben exposed Spain’s frailty against pace and Sanchez can have the same impact on the counter-attack, especially in the latter if the South Americans can keep Del Bosque’s men at bay.

Editor's Prediction

Despite their shambolic display against the Netherlands, it’s still difficult to conceive that Spain will not even qualify for the second round. Vicente Del Bosque will have to make changes at the back after such suicidal defending but he will not abandon his philosophy on the basis of one terrible result. Chile will threaten on the counter-attack but Spain should control the majority of the game and make their quality count in the final third.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Spain ESP
Spain Spain
Chile CHL
Chile Chile

Top 3 Predictions

Spain ESP
2 - 1
Chile CHL
Spain ESP
1 - 2
Chile CHL
Spain ESP
3 - 1
Chile CHL