Spain are in a must-win situation in their next 2014 World Cup match against Chile after having endured a 5-1 thrashing by Holland—the worst opening-round loss for a defending champion.
While Spain are the big betting favorite in Wednesday's match, do they have the form to grab three points and stay alive in Group B?
Chile have three points after their opening win against Australia and are 5-1 underdogs against the defending champions, according to most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Spain are roughly 4-7 to win in three-way betting while the draw line is about 7-2.
In their opener, Chile beat Australia 3-1, with Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia scoring in the first 15 minutes. The Chilean squad looked great early on before holding off a resilient Aussie squad.
Chile played well in the midfield during the Australia match, but can they do the same against Spain? Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Xabi Alonso are a tough trio for Spain, and while they want to forget the loss to the Dutch, all the pressure is on them.
Spain looked fine in the first half facing the Netherlands before the wheels fell off in the second half. Keeper Iker Casillas may sit out after struggling in the last one, and the Spanish defense will be dealing with an attacking Chilean offense.
Spain must be wary of the counter-attack since they have the major advantage when it comes to the time-of-possession game. The Chileans will want to press forward quickly when they have the ball.
If Spain can play well in the midfield and bottle up Alexis Sanchez, they should win the match, but that is easier said than done.
After the embarrassing 5-1 loss to Holland, expect Spain head coach Vicente Del Bosque to make changes.
Spain's offense may be dealing with a Chilean side that will play a defensive shell, because a draw—and the resulting single point in Group B standings—will suit them just fine. However, that is not Chile's style.
A draw for Spain will make it almost impossible for the champions to advance beyond the group stage. While that is sufficient motivation, the concern for Spain backers must be the poor form displayed in their opener.
Spain vs. Chile Prediction: 2-2