Chile are one of the most intriguing teams at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They are considered a dark-horse candidate by many, due to playing on South American soil, as well as having stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal.
The Chileans begin proving whether they justify the buzz by taking on Australia on Friday evening. The Socceroos, as they are affectionately known, are not as strong as in previous years.
However, this is not a squad devoid of talent. Players such as Crystal Palace midfield general Mile Jedinak and goalscorer Tim Cahill can cause Chile a few headaches.
As both teams find themselves in Group B with reigning champions Spain and a strong Netherlands squad, neither can afford to be cagey, even in an opening fixture.
Schedule and Stream Information
Here's some important schedule information for the game, including kick-off time and stream details:
Date: Jun. 13, 2014
Time: 11 p.m. (BST)/6 p.m.(ET)
TV: ITV, ESPN 2
Live Stream: ITV Player, ESPN3.com.
If Chile are going to deliver on the hype surrounding their gifted squad, they'll need to make a statement here. For that to happen, a gifted forward like Sanchez must be in peak form.
The Barcelona man has a knack for crafty movement and well-timed runs. He doesn't always score the goals he should at club level, but Sanchez is more of a threat internationally.
He is given the freedom to play a more direct game. The pacey and versatile attacker often drifts into the middle. That has occasionally encouraged coach Jorge Sampaoli to utilize Sanchez as a roving false nine.
While Chile lack a standout centre-forward, Sanchez can expect to receive support from Valencia's Eduardo Vargas. A rotund trickster, Vargas is quicker than you'd expect and, like Sanchez, has a talent for ghosting into the box to connect with smart delivery.
The chief source of that delivery would usually be Juventus star Arturo Vidal. A tireless worker with both an eye for goal and the flair to create for teammates, Vidal is arguably Chile's most important player.
But he is barely removed from surgery to address a troubling knee injury, per BBC Sport, and it is likely Chile will have to cope without him against Australia. The player is a "fitness doubt" for the opener, according to Socceroos.com writer Peter Hanson.
The battle to control midfield is likely to be an intense one. The potential duel between Vidal and Jedinak would be intriguing to watch.
If Australia can gain a stranglehold, they will sense a chance to score an upset. However, Ange Postecoglu's team lack the necessary pace and invention to sufficiently trouble what is a suspect Chile defence.
Cahill will have to summon his aerial prowess to upset the Chileans at the back. But even the 34-year-old's best efforts are unlikely to be enough.
Chile face a challenge dealing with the expectations they have generated, as BBC Sport South American football writer Tim Vickery has noted:
It is now expected. Some have identified Chile as potential semi-finalists. There is, though, the prospect of a second-round meeting with Brazil, who ended Chile's 2010 campaign at the same stage. This time, however, Brazil openly acknowledge that they would rather face another opponent, which could be Spain or Netherlands - both drawn with Chile in Group B.
That level of expectation puts huge pressure on every game, and demands Chile make their superior quality obvious against Australia.
Predicted Final Score: Chile 2-1 Australia
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