2014 WORLD CUP SOCCER
Kickoff: Friday, 6:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Pantanal – Cuiaba, Brazil
Chile -250, Australia +500, Tie +350
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +105, Under -135)
Group B play of the 2014 World Cup continues on Friday afternoon when heavy underdog Australia tries to upset Chile.
It seems strange that Europe are the shortest-priced continent to produce the World Cup winners considering no country from outside South America lifted the trophy on the four prior occasions that the competition was held there. The host continent will be represented by Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador this time round, and the first five of that sextet all look capable of strong showings in familiar surroundings.
Chile would have hoped for friendlier Group B bedfellows than World Cup 2010 finalists Spain and the Netherlands, but an opening fixture against significantly weaker Australia should ensure that Jorge Sampaoli's side is brimming with confidence for its clash with champions Spain. Alexis Sanchez and company lost just two of their 14 games in 2013, earning excellent victories over Uruguay, Paraguay and England and claiming credible draws against Brazil, Spain and Colombia.
Finishing second – four points behind Japan – in an Asian qualifying group that also contained Jordan, Oman and Iraq will prove poor preparation for what Australia, who lost four of six fixtures between July 25, 2013 and May 25, 2014, are about to face.Crack Chile goal-getters Sanchez and Arturo Vidal have scored over 40 goals between them for club and country since last August, and Sampaoli's men conceded just three times across recent friendlies against fellow World Cup attendees England, Brazil, Costa Rica and Germany. CHILE should be far too strong for a Socceroos side that were walloped 6-0 by both the tournament hosts and France last autumn.