The Spaniards get ready to put the Dutch embarassment behind them and charge into second place in Group B as they take on Chile at 3pm ET.
Spanish manager Vicente del Bosque has made two key changes to the lineup, removing Xavi and Gerard Pique from the starting XI that fell to the Netherlands 5-1 last time out.
In their places come Javi Martinez at the back and another striker in Pedro as del Bosque changes the formation to a 4-3-3. With Diego Costa proving insignificant last time out, he may be helped with a pair of true wingers beside him.
The Chileans looked shaky to Australia last time out, but seeing the Dutch barely escape their matchup with the Socceroos today with their lives, that is a little more understandable. They will look to pull off another shocking defeat of Spain and put one foot into the knockout round.
Spain – Casillas; Azpilicueta, Ramos, Javi Martínez, Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta; Silva, Costa. Pedro.
Chile -Bravo; Jara, Silva, Medel; Mena, Aránguiz, Díaz, Isla; Vargas, Vidal, Sánchez
1. Can the new Spanish lineup perform better? It’s surprising that del Bosque removed Xavi, who was much better against the Netherlands than Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets, but it’s the 34-year-old who is axed in favor of another attacker. With Spain so sloppy on the ball in the midfield on Friday, it will be interesting to see if they return to form or if they truly are a dying breed.
2. Is Chile truly up to the task? If Chile makes it to the knockout round, they surely will have earned it, and today is a crucial moment. If Spain grabs momentum back, it will be easy to put the disaster on Friday behind themselves and look forward towards clinching a knockout round berth against Australia in their final group match. However, if Chile does pick up a result today, it will be against the defending champions and could even knock them completely out of contention if things go right. What will happen?
3. Can Iker Casillas put his disastrous performance behind him? It would have been interesting to see how del Bosque handled the goalkeeping situation had David de Gea been fit, but with the Manchester United goalkeeper down with an injury, it was between Casillas and Pepe Reina, not as difficult of a decision. Del Bosque looked to take pressure off his goalkeeper by declaring the loss wasn’t his fault, but Casillas has much to prove to Spain fans if he wishes to win them back.
Expectation: Chile is a dangerous side, but Spain is the defending champions, and while Alexis Sanchez has the opportunity to truly cement his name in World Cup history, it’s likely that the Spanish get back on their feet.
One blogger’s prediction: This will be an exciting and close match, but the Spaniards come out on top with a 2-1 win with goals from Iniesta and Pedro.