Can Spain bounce back from their 5-1 trouncing at the hands of the Netherlands? That will be the question when they face off against a Chile side riding high after a huge 3-1 win against Australia last Friday.
SPAIN REBOUND: Despite controlling possession (64 percent vs. 36 percent) yet again, Spain’s defense combusted in the second half against the Netherlands, conceding four goals. It was a comedy of errors from Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, and most notably goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who some speculate may not even get the start (more below).
If they are unable to stitch up their backline, we just might be watching the end of the Spanish dynasty.
THE OTHER LA ROJA: Unlike Spain, Chile got off to a flying start in their ninth World Cup appearance. Chile scored two goals within the first 15 minutes and salted away the remaining 75 minutes, scoring a stoppage-time goal for good measure. Alexis Sanchez was the star of the show, scoring the first goal and assisting on the second. The Barcelona man should be very familiar with some of the opposing players out there.
CHANGE IN GOAL?: Iker Casillas is one of the best goalkeepers of all-time but his performance against the Netherlands forced fans and pundits to call into question whether he should continue starting for Spain. His coach, Vicente Del Bosque, does not seem to share those sentiments. “I remember when I came back to the changing room after the press conference and he was talking to his team-mates, acting as a captain,” Del Bosque said about Casillas. That does not sound like a man who is going to sit his captain on the bench.
2010 REDUX: These two teams actually faced off at the last World Cup. in the last group game in 2010, Spain got goals from David Villa and Andres Iniesta and came away with a needed 2-1 result. The victory placed them first in the group, ahead of Chile on goal difference, and helped propel them all the way to the title.
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Iker Casillas, goalkeeper, Spain. You already heard about his performance against the Netherlands. Spain will need a bounce-back performance from him if they are to beat Chile.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Jorge Valdivia, midfielder, Chile. He already scored a goal in this World Cup and the attacking midfielder was one of the best players on the field against Australia. Look for him to log another quality performance against Spain.