They say it’s hot down under but Australia could find Chile too much to handle at the start of what’s a very difficult Group B for them at this World Cup and the South Americans can get to a winning start against the group underdogs.
There is much worry over whether Chile will have star midfielder Alexis Sanchez available to them but he was named in the startling lineup and is one of three outstanding Chile players in particular who can give them an attacking edge over the Socceroos.
However this is a highly impressive team outfit we’re dealing with and there’s every reason to rate this unit as good enough to tackle anyone with or without their main man. In qualifying, Chile scored 29 goals – only second favourites Argentina bettered that total in CONEMBEOL – and they also have several other impressive performances to their name.
They were a class ahead of England at Wembley in November and were even better when going down 1-0 to German in a game that they were unlucky to lose – even Joachim Low said so – that having come after they smashed 4 past Costa Rica.
The worry for them is their sloppy defending form. 25 goals conceded in their qualifying is a worrying statistic and they had to come from 2-0 down in a recent armup friendly against Egypt. This is in part thanks to the high defensive line that they employ and Australia’s Ange Postelou has already said they will look to get in behind with young strikers Tomas Oar and Matthew Leckie, while Tim Cahill is still an aerial threat in a backline without any obvious aerial strongman.
Getting in behind them is all well and good but Australia have their own issues to contend to as well. Much of the squad has not played outside the A-League at club level and Australia’s international results do not make for strong reading. They won just three games in a qualifying group containing Japan, Iraq, Jordan and Oman and while one can’t read too much into warm up friendly results, France and Brazil put 6 past them in warm-up games that saw the sacking of their previous coach.
New results have been better but as margin to compare the two by Chile put four past Costa Rica while Australia won by just the one goal and they looked vulnerable in defence when losing a shootout 4-3 to Ecuador three games ago, having had a 3-0 lead at one stage.
It’s hard to argue with the initial match prices and Chile, with no reason not to go for everything, could well cover the 1 goal handicap in a winning start.
2 pts Chile -1 (7/5 Spreadex, 13/10 general)