Spain v Chile - Match Preview: Can Costa prove Spain credentials or will Cesc get the chance?

Spain and Chile will be playing at the Maracana on Wednesday, with the aim of returning in three and a half weeks time for the final.

To be played on Wednesday 18th June 2014 at 20:00. Venue: Estadio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro.

Odds: Spain 4/7, Draw 16/5, Chile 4/1

Preview & injury news

Vicente Del Bosque is expected to make plenty of changes to Spain's starting 11 after Friday's shock 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands. Although the defending champions went 1-0 up, their defence was destroyed by the sheer pace and athleticism of the Netherlands attack, and the 5-1 scoreline wasn't harsh on Spain at all.

The captain from that match, Iker Casillas could to be dropped after his terrible mistake to give Netherlands' fourth goal to them on a plate. Current Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina is likely to start in goal with David de Gea injured.

Elsewhere, Javi Martinez, Pedro and Chelsea new signing Cesc Fabregas are all believed to start in a team that is in desperate need of a win. It is no secret Spain lost to Switzerland 1-0 in their opening match of the 2010 tournament, then went on to win the tournament for the first time in their history. Yet that was the first time that has happened in the World Cup, and the chances of it happening two times in a row for the same country look unlikely. but the very talented Spain squad believe otherwise.

In contrast to Spain, Chile managed to get off to a winning start and beat Australia 3-1 on Friday, thanks to two early goals from talisman Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia. They went on to win the game and ensure they go in to Wednesday's match knowing a draw could see them progress at the expense of their opponents. a lot of pressure will be on Alexis Sanchez to perform against the country he plies his trade in, however his good performance on Friday suggests he is in the form capable of hurting Spain's defence. 

Spain will still be rightly favourites, but the pressure is on and they will need to deliver.

Key stats

Spain haven't lost back to back internationals since October 2006.

Chile have never beaten Spain in their last 10 previous encounters.

Alexis Sanchez has been involved in seven of the last eight goals that Chile have scored (six assists and one goal).

5 players to watch

Cesc Fabregas - The new Chelsea player is likely to replace Diego Costa in the starting line-up and play in the 'false no.9' position. It worked well for his side in Euro 2012, and it will be important Fabregas plays to his creative best to cause the Chilean defence problems in who to mark.

Alexis Sanchez - The Barcelona man probably watched Spain's defence getting destroyed by pace on Friday in sheer excitement. Sanchez has pace to burn himself and if given the same opportunities, will be sure to cause as much damage as the Dutch.

Sergio Ramos - With Pique likely to be dropped and replaced by Javi Martinez, Ramos will be in charge of organising a defence that will be nervous at the beginning. If he plays to his best, Ramos can lead his defence to a solid performance and an important clean sheet, he will be vital in that.

Gary Medel - The Cardiff City midfielder looks to destroy the oppositions play more than create his own teams. Spain will continue with their tiki-taka style and with Fabregas likely to drop into the midfield, Chile will be outnumbered in midfield and Medel will need to stop Spain from playing.

Xavi - It is rare for Xavi to have a poor match, but Friday was one of those. He wasn't alone on that, but he will need to be back to his best if Spain are to dominate the play and over-run Chile. Del Bosque will be hoping the experience of Xavi will shine through, it's rare he has two bad games in a row.

Last time they met

Spain 2 (Soldado, Navas) Chile 2 (Vargas 2), International Friendly, September 2013

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