What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: Chile vs Spain (Group H)
When: Friday 25th June, 2010, at 19:30 UK Time
Where: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa

Almost There

Chile have all but guaranteed qualification for the next stage of this summer’s football festivities. Having won their first two games against Honduras and Switzerland by a clean 1-0 scoreline, the South Americans will want to extend this streak and come up with another three points when they face the Spanish, knowing full well that their foes are playing far from their best football.

Much rests on Chile’s remaining 90 minutes in the group stages. Should Marcelo Bielsa’s team top their group, then they would most likely escape being paired up with Group G leaders Brazil, a team no-one wants to face at this early stage of the tournament. Therefore, Chile will want to field a strong team to give themselves the best possible chance of victory.

Back on Track

Vicente del Bosque’s Spain returned to winning ways by defeating Honduras by a two goal cushion. David Villa grabbed the headlines as he bagged both goals, and was by far La Roja’s best player, but in truth, he and the rest of the squad could have done much more as they wasted one chance after another, including a penalty that the new Barcelona striker wasted.

The Spanish press for their part were hardly convinced by the side’s showing against Honduras, with tabloids publishing news about Spain being mediocre and hardly the striking force that everybody feared before the start of the tournament. Del Bosque himself said that a similar showing against Chile would not be enough to ensure qualification, and that his side must up the tempo for them to truly be a force again.

Recent form

Chile 2-0 New Zealand (09/06; Friendly)
Honduras 0-1 Chile (16/06; World Cup – Group H)
Chile 1-0 Switzerland (21/06; World Cup – Group H)

Spain 6-0 Poland (08/06; Friendly)
Spain 0-1 Switzerland (16/06; World Cup – Group H)
Spain 2-0 Honduras (21/06; World Cup – Group H)

Players to watch

Chile – Alexis Sanchez: A key player for his team during their first two games, the Udinese midfielder will have to be on top form should Chile want to upset Spain and grab the spoils. Deployed on the right-wing, Sanchez could cause all sorts of problems for Spain’s Joan Capdevila.

Spain – Sergio Ramos: The Real Madrid defender could very well be mistaken for an attacking player, as he spent most of his time in the Honduras half during Spain’s last match. Against Chile however, the stopper will have to retreat a bit more to his own zone and establish a balance between his attacking and defensive duties.

Match prediction

Supremacy for Group H comes down to this match. Chile lead by three points and have nearly qualified, but could lose that pole position should they be the victims of the bloodthirsty Spaniards, who have to win back their fans by all means necessary after shaky recent displays. While the South Americans do have what it takes to cause an upset, the Seleccion is growing stronger by the match and will likely grab all three points, as well as the group’s top spot.

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