Australia vs. Spain Preview: Both Teams Playing For Pride

Monday afternoon at Noon ET/9am PT and Tuesday morning at 2am (AEST), the Soccerroos, ranked third in their group, will face off against last-placed Spain in what will be both teams’ final match at the 2014 World Cup after being knocked out by The Netherlands and Chile.

The match will be played at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba with Spain (the defending
champion) at an all-time low after being knocked out of the tournament following two abject performances. On the other hand, Australia is riding high due to impressive performances, even if the results haven’t gone their way.

Recent Results

Australia were extremely impressive against Netherlands just a few days
ago in their second match and fell just short, losing 3-2. The skillful
Dutch scored an early goal, but Australia hit back right away through an amazing Tim
Cahill volleyed shot from a Ryan McGowan cross. Early in the second half
the Socceroos looked to have the ascendancy when Mile Jedinak scored from
the penalty spot. But goals from Robin Van Persie and Memphis Depay sealed a win
for the Dutch. The Aussies can be enthusiastic and take many positives out
of that match, due to the fact they dominated the first half.

Spain endured a 5-1 loss in their opening game and were equally unimpressive
in their 2-0 loss to Chile. The Spanish players had much of the ball but
were not creative enough in trying to find the final pass to deliver a
goal. The World Champions have been knocked out! If they fail to beat
Australia, it will no doubt be the worst performance in a World Cup for a
defending champion.

Players In/Out

The question mark over Mark Bresciano’s fitness has again been brought
into question. He has not fully recovered from the last match. An option
for Ange Postecoglou is to play Oliver Bozanic in the central attacking midfield role. Tim Cahill is also suspended and will most likely be replaced by young Adam Taggart (22). Mark Milligan may also come in for Matt McKay.

Spain have no injury concerns, but expect some fringe players to get a run-out, including Koke, possibly David De Gea, and maybe even Juanfran.

Game Plan

Australia will attack Spain right from the outset. “We are bitterly
disappointed we’ve been knocked out, but we want a reward for our efforts.
Spain will know they’ve been in a game,” Posttecoglou said in an interview. The
team will want to play positively and are confident in winning this match.
The formation will stay the same. Look for the two holding midfielders to
press the likes of Silva and Iniesta when on the ball. Australia will also
look to press from the front – pressuring the goalkeeper to kick long,
forcing errors, allowing Mile Jedinak to head it down to a player going

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