Australia v Spain: Holder’s wounded pride to see them gain win
Rubber’s don’t come much more devoid of life than this one in World Cup terms, as winless Group B duo Australia and Spain face off, but it’s the outgoing champions who have the most to play for.
Not so much dethroned as deboned at Brazil 2014 following a crushing defeat to Holland before Chile stamped out all hopes of recovery, Spain may have a new monarch but the reign of their all-conquering football team is over.
Still, whatever the future holds for national coach Vicente del Bosque the senior players whom he led to successive tournament victories owe him a performance before packing their bags.
Considering what’s gone before, especially with the Socceroos making Holland work so hard for their second win in Group D it would be easy to scoff at this bet.
However, even in defeat to Chile the Spanish still fired in 16 shots with six on target and despite crashing out here this is still a squad rammed full of quality players who arrived off the back of six wins in seven.
Australia will be no pushovers as we’ve already witnessed, but eight losses in their last 12 games and three straight suggest they’re the lowest ranked FIFA side in Brazil for a reason.
Australia have given a good account of themselves at these finals, despite losing both opening games.
Part of their problem at the tournament has been a failure to get out of the blocks quick enough, as they’ve trailed after 20 minutes against Chile and Holland.
The Aussies are also without suspended talisman Tim Cahill who has score 2/3 of their goals.
The whispers from the Spain camp suggest Del Bosque may hand the country’s all-time leading scoring a start ahead of the disappointing Diego Costa.
Villa is among a crop of players who could be making their swansong, but still only 32, New York Red Bulls’ latest big name signing has never let La Roja down notching 58 times in 96 caps.
The former Barcelona striker scored both goals in Spain’s final World Cup warm-up game against El Salvador.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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