The first big concern in this one is whether Chile’s star midfielder Arturo Vidal is fit and able to play tonight. The Juventus player has been struggling with inflammation in his right knee following an operation on his meniscus last month and was expected to be out for the whole of the group phase. They are far from a one man band though, as their third place finish in the South American qualifying section shows. They ended the campaign just four points behind Argentina, three ahead of Uruguay and now sit 14th in the FIFA rankings – above the likes of France and their Group B rival the Netherlands. They are quick on the attack, especially when Alexis Sanchez is on form, but their high back line can be exploited as the two goals from Egypt on 31st May proved. Quick, skilful and durable the Chileans will be hoping to, at least, make the Round of 16.
Australia are pitted by many to be the whipping boys of Group B, recently losing to Croatia and drawing with South Africa during their World Cup build-up. Given that they are still relatively new to the world stage and progression from the groups would be a massive achievement. They are however a very hard-working side and boast no lack of passion for the game. Failing to get over the first hurdle in 2010 will still be ringing in most of the player and a better showing will be demanded this time around. If they can get off to a winning start then anything is possible, but they rather stumbled their way through qualification and know they need to raise their game dramatically to make a last impression on the proceedings.
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You can see Tim Cahill in the next series of “human superheroes” where he’ll be doing his Magneto impressions.
Halloran has done well down the left. It’s his birthday tomorrow – or now if your running GMT
Australia are really pumping balls into the box now. Lee Dixon’s favourite player, Tim Cahill, is getting on all of them.
He “is like a magnet” and can “out jump someone who’s 6ft” apparently.
Sexy statistics are the best kind.
Great through ball from Vidal finds Vargas but his chip, which beats the keeper, is cleared off the line by a sliding Wilkinson.
Australia have really picked up as the game’s gone on. Leccy has invited Cahill to attack several great balls into the box. Oar is looking lively too.
Bravo makes a great save to keep Chile ahead
Cahill has now had a goal disallowed for offside. It’s the right decision and a trend is beginning to develop in this tournament.
Slow opening five minutes. Australia have been seeing more of the ball.
Franjic has gone off for McGowen – the first injury substitution
Both teams are back out and we’re off with with second half ahead.
Sure I just saw an inflatable Kangaroo!
That Microsoft advert with Aaron Paul turned my Xbox on with his voice command. I wish he’d stop doing that – pretty much forced advertising.
Off subject but I’m quite miffed about it!
And that’s half time.
Chile 2 – 1 Australia
Did I miss the goal-line technology when Sanchez scored?
For those of you interested…
“Jedinak Jedinak, lets all hope he breaks his neck”
Classy moment from a bitter Liverpool fan.
Just twigged that Jedinak is playing. Accidentally sent an email about him once, with a telling rhyme, to a board member at my work. (Obviously he wasn’t my intended recipient)
Chile play quite a high back line. Will definitely be their undoing against a pacey striker.
Cahill has grabbed one back. Thirty odd seconds of pressure and it’s suddenly a different landscape.
Australia can’t seem to string any sort of passing move together. Everything goes out of play.
Oz’s best chance is surely a power cut.
So, what happens to the Socceroo’s when Cahill retires?
As if you didn’t know, it’s all Chile here.
I er had hopes that Australia would prove to be difficult opponents. I know it’s early days but …
Goalkeepers are always to blame from what I remember. I played sweeper when it was still trendy.
Blimey, 2-0 already.
This time Valdivia gets it with a placed shot to the top left from just outside the box.
Vargas did the work though by peeling away the back line.
You were the culprit right?
Sanchez gets us off to a flyer. 1-0 Chile.
Not sure what Ryan was thinking at the back post there.
The shape of things to come?
I am so pleased that Vidal managed to be fit for this one.
Sorry, but late to the opening of this one. Doesn’t look like I’ve missed much!