World Cup Finals 2014

Match of the Day Live: Spain v Chile

Match of the Day Live: Spain v Chile



Where to now for Spain? Before the tournament, pundits fell into two camps: one feeling that tiki-taka passing, and these individual players, weren't quite the thing any more in 2014; the other confidently stating that Spain still had all the old qualities and, in Diego Costa, a lethal striker removing the need to waft about with a "false nine" up front.

Nobody predicted the collapse suffered last Friday, when Spain were roundly hammered 5-1 by the Netherlands. Cosily paternal coach Vicente del Bosque has tough decisions to make. Stick with Iker Casillas, who was at fault for probably one and a half Dutch goals, or play Pepe Reina? (David de Gea isn't fit.) Stick with Costa, who won the penalty for Spain's goal against Holland but made his team attempt a slightly uncomfortable change of style, or try Cesc Fabregas?

Reports suggest del Bosque might also replace Xavi with hot Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, and David Silva with the nippy, penetrative Pedro. Spain's real problem in their first match, however, was at the back, where Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique were horribly vulnerable to balls over the top. Javi Martinez might come in for Pique to try to make the back line more circumspect.

Absolutely the last team you want to be facing in a crisis is Chile. They looked like the most exciting team in world football for 20 minutes against Australia, quickly going 2-0 up with their fast, fluid attacks. After that they lost their way but having conceded, they closed a frantic game out reasonably convincingly and will be relishing this fixture.

The star man is Alexis Sanchez, who knows what he's dealing with here since he plays his club football, very successfully, for Barcelona. He and his striking colleague, Valencia's Eduardo Vargas, will have been drooling with anticipation as they watched Arjen Robben repeatedly sprint past the Spanish defence.

The key, however, might be Juventus attacking midfielder Arturo Vidal, who's recovering from knee surgery performed in May and lasted for an hour against Australia. Vargas and Sanchez both like to make runs out wide; Vidal, or his understudy Jorge Valdivia, will burst forward down the middle, completing a triple threat the nervous Spaniards might find hard to resist.


Spain v Chile (Kick-off 8.00pm). Group B at the World Cup continues this evening with this intriguing fixture at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as both sides play their second match of the tournament. Spain were on the receiving end of one of the most surprising scorelines in World Cup history in their opener against the Netherlands, as they were hammered 5-1 despite taking the lead with a first-half penalty. How the defending champions bounce back will be fascinating to watch, especially as Chile won their first match against Australia, and are one of the most improved nations in recent years. Coach Jorge Sampaoli can call upon players of the quality of forward Alexis Sanchez, who is likely to come up against several of his Barcelona team-mates this evening, and taught England a footballing lesson in the friendly between the sides at Wembley Stadium last November. However, this is the 11th meeting between the two and Chile have still to record a victory, with two of their defeats coming in the World Cups of 1950 and 2010. Presented by Gary Lineker, with commentary by Simon Brotherton and Danny Murphy.