Franjic – RB – Injury Cahill – ST – Suspension
Milligan – DM – 20% Bresciano – CM – 50%
Expected Team (4-2-3-1)
Australia will be forced into a change in the striker’s position for this game with Tim Cahill missing though suspension. Cahill was a scorer in both of their previous games and will be a huge loss for the team with his presence in the air and all round influence on the team. It is probable that Adam Taggart will start the game in place of Cahill. Taggart is coming off a good season domestically having scored 16 goals and was the top scorer in the A League but he is pretty much untried at this level and they will be weaker without Cahill.
Ryan McGowan is expected to remain at right back with Ivan Franjic having his tournament ended through injury in the opening game, although he supplied the pass for Cahill’s goal, McGowan’s distribution is not an asset and he struggled to contain Depay in the second half. Mark Milligan missed the Netherlands game through a hamstring problem and with there being no reason to risk him he is likely to be on the sidelines again. McKay probably keeping his place in central midfield.
Mark Bresciano fitness faded in the Netherlands game and he may struggle to start another game so soon, if Bresciano can’t play, then Oliver Bozanic who came off the bench and gave a good account of himself could be given the start. Another change may come on the left flank with Ben Halloran possibly replacing Tommy Oar who has not been as effective he was expected to be.
Bench (from): Galeković GK, Langerak GK, Wright CB, Holland DM, Luongo DM, Milligan CM/DM, Bresciano CM, Vidošić AM, Oar LW, Troisi LW/SS
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Although they have no chance of qualifying for the next round the level of motivation for Australia isn’t likely to be of a team who has nothing to play for. The fact they have already competed better than many expected against Chile and
the Netherlands has given them a big lift and the players are very keen on ending the tournament with a good performance and hopefully a positive result against Spain.
There are no injury doubts or suspensions for Spain coming into the game with Australia, but without anything but pride to play for, the media are expecting a team that contains several fringe players. De Gea has a knock but is unlikely to figure here with Reina likely to get the start if anything.
Del Bosque will not want to finish bottom of the group and likely retain Iniesta in the team, but otherwise make changes to hand out minutes to players yet to feature in the competition like Reina, Villa, Mata, Albiol, Cazorla and Juanfran.
As a result it will see many changes and although weakened on paper, still very respectable such is the quality of their squad. Villa coming in for Costa on club form would be a major loss, but for Spain it is unlikely to affect them given Costa’s difficult adaptation to the team. The only really significant rotation that harms the team is Sergio Ramos dropping out for Albiol at centre back.
There have been no strong indications of the predicted team just yet as there are still inquests going on into why things went so wrong, as well as much speculation about whether Del Bosque will continue.
It is hinted at that Xavi plays from the start in what could be his final
game for Spain, but unlikely players like Casillas, Diego Costa and
Alonso will play due to poor form and physical condition. The predicted team is based more on the belief Bosque hands starts to most of the players so far unused, but it is well worth checking the updated team news on Sunday, by which time the manager could well give more clues about his starting team.
Bench (from): De Gea GK, Casillas GK, Azpilicueta RB, Ramos CB, Pique CB, Busquets DM, David Silva AM, Fabregas AM, Alonso CM, Pedro ST, Diego Costa ST, Fernando Torres ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Spain haven’t found anything close to their best level in this competition, and although it is already too late, they will seek a better and more dynamic footballing performance from a probable much fresher team. Their play has been too predictable and lacked cutting edge and so the likes of Mata, Cazorla and Villa will seek to bring more energy, flair and ideas against the Australians.
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Team morale is incredibly low and this game is more prolonging what has been an agonising tournament for the whole nation. How motivated they will be remains to be seen with the atmosphere low and talk of internal unhappiness due to the results and some incendiary comments made by Xabi Alonso.
Only a win sees them avoid an incredibly embarrassing bottom place finish in the group.
Group B – Game 3
Australia (24) v Spain (3), Monday 23rd June 17:00 BST
Australia gave a spirited display against the Netherlands last week and with a bit more luck, and some better goalkeeping, they would have got at least a draw from the game. Spain, meanwhile, suffered another dispiriting loss against Chile to see their reign as champions end at the earliest possible juncture.
We had concerns about Australia’s defence before the tournament began and they’ve conceded three times in both games. Six of Australia’s last 11 matches have had at least five goals as they’ve conceded three or more on seven occasions.
They’ve scored in both games here though and certainly looked better going forward than expected. However, Tim Cahill is suspended and without their leading scorer we may see them struggle up front.
Since 1990 there have been just four World Cup group matches where both teams had lost their opening two games and all four games saw both teams score and at least three goals.
Against that stat is that five of Spain’s last six matches have had fewer than three goals and both teams have scored in just four of their last 16. The difficulty here is in predicting the number of changes (there are likely to be several) and also the motivation of the Spanish players against a low profile opponent. However, they have won nine of their last 10 matches against teams ranked 21-50 and all nine victories were by at least two clear goals.
While there are doubts about Spain we feel that they will be too good for a weak Australia side missing their best player.