* With the World Cup here, I thought id write a brief preview and review of each of Australia’s games in Brazil, the first of which kicks off tomorrow morning at the viewer-friendly time of 8.00.pm.
Venue: Arena Pantanal (Cuiaba)
Ange has kept everyone guessing in terms of his starting XI, but I think there were some subtle clues over the past week or so – particularly in the Croatia game- that could hint at who may start the game. With so many injuries, the back four seemingly picks itself, with the more experienced –in football terms, not internationals- Alex Wilkinson preferred to the younger Ryan McGowan or Bailey Wright. Marco Bresciano from all reports is fit and ready to play, so expect him to come into the midfield, probably in place of Dario Vidosic which would see Tommy Oar on the left and Matt Leckie on the right.
Probable Australian XI: Ryan, Franjic, Wilkinson, Spiranovic, Davidson, Jedinak, Bresciano, Milligan, Leckie, Oar, Cahill.
Much of Chile’s build-up has been surrounding the availability of Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and it was reported today that he had overcome his injury concerns and would take the field. Along with Alexis Sanchez, Vidal is the other outstanding individual in the Chilean side which is strong across the board. In general their style is reported to pressurise from the front and play an aggressive, attacking style which could test the still relatively still untried back four of Australia. It will also however give the potential for Australia to have counter attacking opportunities.
Probable Chilean XI: Bravo (c); Isla, Medel, Jara, Mena; Gutierrez, Aranguiz, Diaz, Valdivia; Sanchez, Vargas.
I haven’t seen a lot of Chile in truth so they’re a bit of an unknown, but they’ve got strong results and a couple of quality players. Many consider this to be Australia’s best shot at getting a result in the tournament –to me it’s the Dutch who we line up better against-, but Australia isn’t without a chance of getting something, albeit a small one.
Kick-off is on SBS1 at approximately 8.00am tomorrow morning, with the pre-game from 7.30. The other group b fixture between Spain and Netherlands kicks off at around 5am with the pre-game from 4.30.