The 5 reasons to back Spain to qualify from World Cup Group B
Spain head into tonight’s crunch encounter with Chile staring down the barrel of an early World Cup exit, but write off La Roja at your peril.
The Holland defeat may have been hard to take and while Chile may be the current footballing flavour of the month, for our money the 8/15 on a win for Spain looks too good to ignore, while La Roja are evens to qualify from the group.
Here are five reasons why they can do the job.
Spain have been here and done it before
Losing the first game is far from ideal but Spain did exactly that en route to World Cup glory in 2010. The situation may be different – La Roja lost 1-0 to Switzerland that time rather than 5-1 to Holland – but the team is largely the same.
Spain know how to win when it matters, as their qualification campaign demonstrates. Home draws with France and Finland allowed Les Bleus to sneak ahead in the group. Spain went to the Stade de France knowing only a win would keep qualification in their own hands. They won 1-0.
Vicente Del Bosque’s team had a bad 45 minutes
As poor as Spain were against Holland it’s important to note that, with a minute to go before the break, La Roja had their noses in front and didn’t look bad value for their lead, with the Dutch’s only notable attempt prior to Robin Van Persie’s wonder goal being a tame effort from Wesley Sneijder.
The second-half may have been a disaster but while Chile boast plenty of attacking talent, they are unlikely to prove as fearsome as Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.
Chile made hard work of their win over the Socceroos
Chile were far from their imperious best against a weak and inexperienced Australia team that many have already picked out as the worst team at the tournament.
The South Americans were impressive in the opening 20 minutes, racing into a 2-0 lead but as the game wore on Australia got over their jitters and caused problems for Chile who looked shaky after Tim Cahill’s goal. A late Jean Beausejour strike applied gloss to the result but it was not warranted.
Diego Costa’s physicality is a major asset
One of the major benefits of having Diego Costa in their team is the notable physical presence he brings to the Spain attack, something which could be crucial against a Chile side that struggled to contain 34-year-old New York Red Bulls star Cahill.
Back the naturalised Brazilian to bring his A-game to Chile.
La Roja know how to beat this Chile team
Spain beat Chile 2-1 at the 2010 World Cup, playing against a Marcelo Bielsa Chile team whose ethos has remained intact under his successor Jorge Sampaoli.
Some may point to the presence of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal but Spain’s defence are well versed in the Barcelona man’s talents while the Juventus midfielder was effectively shackled by Real Madrid in the Champions League last term. A win over the South Americans should put them on course for a meeting with Brazil.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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