For most, match day two of the World Cup will be entirely about Spain and Netherlands–a titanic sequel to one of the most miserably negative cup finals in the history of the event.
But the late show, featuring Chile and Australia, is the sleeper match of the day. That's not to say this game should be competitive or even particularly close. In fact, chances are it won't be. But we do have the opportunity, for the second time in as many matches, to witness the rarest of World Cup happenings: a group stage bloodbath.
Recent bloodbaths, like Portugal's demolishing of North Korea in 2010 or Argentina's dismembering of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, have taken place in groups where three World Cup powers are pitted against each other with one significantly less heralded side playing the role of filler. The most recent Soccer Power Index ranks Spain (3), Chile (5), and Netherlands (10) all among the world's elite. Australia (42) are the second lowest ranked team in this year's World Cup field. With Brazil acting as a sort of home-field advantage for South American sides, the deck seems further stacked against the Socceroos.
Chile love to attack. They aren't bashful–there's no pussyfooting with Chile. Since last June La Roja have averaged a whopping 2.54 goals per game while being shut out only once in 13 fixtures (a 1-0 friendly against Germany in Stuttgart). The attack is spearheaded by FC Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez, a player with frightening pace and a lethal shot, and Valencia's Eduardo Vargas, who despite struggling to find his place in European club soccer, has posted a robust 14 goals in 30 caps for his national team. Behind them is Arturo Vidal, a beast of a midfielder with no apparent weaknesses. If Chile were Thor, Vidal would be the hammer.
Chile press relentlessly. This alone could spell major problems for Australia–one of the least technical sides in the tournament. Any wobble in the back from Western Sydney Wanderers' Matthew Špiranović or Shandong Luneng Taishan'sRyan McGowan will be magnified immediately. In a group with three vultures, Australia stands out as the lone carcass.
Chile is all too aware that goal differential may decide the outcome of Group B and their chance to set the scoring bar presents itself immediately in the form of the Socceroos. Poor Socceroos.
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