Chile likely to be too hot for the Socceroos
No-one who saw Chile beat England at Wembley in the autumn can doubt that Jorge Sampaoli has a very talented squad at his disposal and it would be no surprise if they went a long way in the tournament if qualifying from a tough section.
The Chileans certainly look one of the opening-round bankers against Australia at the Arena Pantanal at 1/2.
Sampaoli has an attacking philosophy and his players have bought into his ideas and have done well in friendlies against Brazil and Germany lately, as well as winning at Wembley. Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared himself fit following knee surgery and that’s a massive boost for his team as he complements the skills of Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez and Valencia’s Eduardo Varga.
English football followers will recognise Cardiff’s Gary Medel, Wigan’s Jean Beausejour and Nottingham Forest’s Gonzalo Jara and expect Chile to make a fast start against the Aussies, though performances under the current coach suggests the Socceroos will get chances as the game progresses.
There are three English-based players in Ange Postecoglou’s Australia squad, with two of them plying their trade in League One. They’ve only got out of the group stages once in three previous tries and the draw hasn’t been kind to them again.
Former Everton midfielder Tim Cahill has always had an eye for goal and is probably his team’s best hope of an upset against Chile but the current Aussie squad is not a vintage one and tends to ship goals for fun when up against top-class opposition.
Both France and Brazil have put six past them recently and Ecuador scored four in one half. They are probably one of the weakest teams at Brazil 2014 and could be one of the first on the plane back home if things start badly.
Back Chile to concede a goal start on the handicap at 7/5.
The match kicks off at 11pm UK time on Friday, June 13th in Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba.