Chile and Australia both need the points

With Spain and the Netherlands also in Group B, losing this one could be fatal

If Australia's World Cup warm-up against Ecuador in London in March is anything to go by, their opening Group B clash with Chile at the Pantanal Arena this evening could be a thriller.

Australia, who took a shock three-goal lead against the Ecuadoreans before being over-run in the second half and losing 4-3, like to hit opponents with fast breaks and if they are to do anything of note in Brazil they must beat Chile.

Chile like to play in their opponents’ half with a fast and furious pressing game.

With big guns Spain and the Netherlands, who met in the final in South Africa four years ago, up next in the group Chile also need to take the points.


The South Americans, third in their region’s qualifying group, are favourites against an Australian team in transition with the 2015 Asian Cup a far more realistic goal.

Chile are playing on their own continent but the muggy conditions in Cuiaba, deep in the Mato Grosso swampland, are not necessarily an advantage for them because the country has a more European climate.

Chile have the more talented squad, with Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal major players.

They may be thin at the back in a 3-4-3 formation but will aim to starve the opposition of the ball.

The Chilean squad has the lowest average height in the tournament and will need to counter the Australians' strengths in the air, particularly veteran midfielder Tim Cahill, who became Australia's all-time top scorer with 32 in 68 internationals with two headed goals against Ecuador .

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou's main decision is over whether to risk playmaker Mark Bresciano (34), who arrived in Brazil with a back problem and has been undertaking only light training.