If someone tells you that Spain’s final group game would be dead rubber, you would probably imagine that irrespective of the result the opposition is going home. However, it is Spain who is also packing their bags. After two embarrassing defeats at the hands of Netherlands and Chile, Spain head to Curitiba to face an Australian side knowing that this is their last chance to at least pick up something before heading back home.
The La Furia Roja was stunned on both occasions as they leaked 7 goals in the last two games. They were one of the favorites to nail the trophy this year and they have done no justice to live up to the hype. Their final game against Australia will be their last roll of the dice to seek some solace before eventually moving out of Brazil.
If there is one team that has won more hearts than points, it is indeed Australia. The Socceroos have been one of the most spirited sides this year and the performances they have showcased with such limited talent are indeed commendable. They lost to the Dutch 3-2 but they certainly gave the 2010 world cup finalists a run for their money. They will seem all pepped up after the last encounter and will look to add insult to injury when they face Spain.
Line ups: Australia (4-2-3-1): Mathew Ryan; Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Ryan McGowan; James Holland, Mile Jedinak; Tommy Oar, Mark Bresciano, James Troisi; Mathew Leckie.
Spain (4-2-3-1): Pepe Reina; Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Javi Martinez, Juanfran; Sergio Busquets, Koke; Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Santiago Cazorla; Fernando Torres.
Prediction: 2-1 to Spain
This is the first ever meeting between the two sides
Even a draw will help Australia finish above Spain
Spain have never lost all 3 games in a world cup
Spain striker Diego Costa has failed to register a single shot on target in the tournament
Player to watch out for –
Spain –Xabi Alonso – With the Spanish midfield rock announcing his retirement, this might well be his last encounter in national colours. The Real Madrid player has been Spain’s only goal scorer in the tournament and he will look to bow out on a high.
Australia – Jedinak – with Cahill out for the fixture with a suspension, the onus will be on captain Jedinak to pull the strings. He has cleverly linked the attack and defense over the course of this world cup and will play a pivotal role in this last encounter.