Chile came into the World Cup as potential dark horses, with many viewers impressed with the level of football played by Sampaoli’s men. Australia are the lowest ranked team in the entire tournament and the focus for them has been the youth, with the future of the sport more important that this tournament, given the difficult group.
With Spain’s loss earlier, Chile knew that they could put real pressure on the defending champions with a win, and while they started off strong, Australia gave a good case of themselves and may have even been unlucky to not come away with more than just pride.
Chile (4-1-2-1-2): Bravo, Jara, Medel, Mena, Diaz, Vidal (Guiterrez 60’), Aranguiz, Valdivia (Beausejour 68’), Sanchez, Vargas (Pinilla 88’)
Australia (4-2-3-1): Ryan, Franjic (McGowan 49’), Spiranovic, Wilkinson, Davidson, Jedinak, Milligan, Leckie,Bresciano (Troisi 78’), Oar (Holloran 69’), Cahill
Goals: Sanchez (12’), Valdivia (14’), Cahill (35’) Beausejour (90’)
Chile over confident
Chile went 2 goals up early on courtesy of Sanchez and Valdivia, at this point it looked like it would turn out to be an easy win for the South Americans. However Chile seemed to take a step back and dropped their intensity levels which allowed Australia into the game. Chile’s Bravo summed it up with a very lazy pass out which went straight to the opposition and resulted in Tim Cahill’s goal. If Chile want to progress past the group stages in this competition, they need to ensure their intensity levels are high throughout, especially as they have two tougher tests to come.
This seems to be a problem with the South American sides looking to cause a few upsets as Colombia too started of with high intensity, like Chile, but dropped off immediately after a good solid early lead. With many big teams at the tournament, sides like Argentina & Brazil, they can be easily punished if they force themselves to succumb to the pressure.
Chile’s weakness exploited
Chile’s main weakness lies in central defence, Medel is a defensive midfielder by trade and Jara has recently been released by Nottingham Forrest. Medel is 5”7 and Jara stands at 5”10 neither are the tallest, especially for center backs. This clearly creates an issue with aerial battles.
This was highlighted back in March when Chile faced Germany in a friendly due to the size of the Chile squad, 5”11 Vidal was left marking 6”6 Per Mertesacker on set pieces and it was clear Australia looked to exploit this area.
Tim Cahill has made a name for himself as one of the best headers of the ball in world football, up against 5″7 Medal and 5″10 Jara it was clear Cahill fancied his chances. Note that Cahill isn’t the tallest either but he has an amazing leap in him, see during his time at Everton, and he certainly could win the duels in the air.
In the 4th minute the first time Australia got into Chile’s half the first thing Tommy Oar looked to do was get the ball in the box, despite it not leading to anything it was a sign of things to come.
Australia put in 18 crosses (according to Squawka), many from deep positions, it was a clear game plan from Australia to get the ball into the box towards Tim Cahill as soon as possible and it worked. They knew where Chile’s weakness was and took advantage. Cahill scored a fantasic header in the first half and had another ruled out for offside in the second, Bravo also denied him with a great save. The small Chilean defenders couldn’t handle the New York Red Bulls player. Chile were very vulnerable in central defensive positions, it was clear for all to see.
If Chile were up against better opposition they may not have come away with a victory today, its expected they will use an extra CB v Spain, Chile fans will hope this will be enough to defend the high balls into the box.
Ability to change
Chile come under heavy pressure from Australia in the second half and were struggling all over the pitch. In the 68th minute Chile made a change, they brought Wigan’s Beausejour on for Valdivia which resulted in a change in system. Chile moved from 4-1-2-1-2 to 4-3-3. Australia’s full backs were pushing on to try and get that all important equalizer. Chile looked to exploit that with the change in system and specifically with the pace of Beausejour on the left wing. Beausejour eventually sealed the deal late on for Chile with a fantastic strike into the bottom corner. A lot of teams seem stuck in their ways, but Chile can easily change to a back 3 in upcoming games as well, the fluidity and flexibility throughout the Chile side may prove to be a key factor if they are wanting to get the better of Netherlands and/or Spain
Sanchez for me was the top performer for Chile. He started as a second striker but could often be seen dropping off into midfield positions and looking to get onto the ball as much as possible and run at players, he had 6 successful take –ons only 1 less than the whole Australian team combined (via Squwaka). A key battle that developed throughout the game was Sanchez vs Jedinak. Sanchez got the beating of the Australian captain for Chile’s second goal with a fantastic turn which left him for dead, as he struggled to deal with the Barca man all game. He also got himself on the score sheet with a tidy well placed shot into the bottom corner. Sanchez has been linked with a move away from Barcelona and it’s easy to see why teams across Europe are interested on this display.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THEM?
Despite the 2 goal win Chile are still only in 2nd place having scored 2 less goals than Netherlands who thumped Spain 5-1 earlier (detailed analysis here). With it being such a tight group Chile will have hoped for more goals going into the game as Group B could quite easily be decided on goal difference. However as the game went on I’m sure they would have been happy to just come out with the win as Australia more than matched them. Australia did their country proud and were unlucky not to take more from the game. Two tough matches await both sides against Netherlands and Spain both will do well to get anything from the game, however Chile certainly have the better chances.
This article was written by Daniel Young. Follow him on Twitter @DanUnited5
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