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Australia vs Spain World Cup 2014 match preview: Vicente del Bosque prepares for new era

Spanish boss will make a number of changes for the match

For the deposed world champions, it comes to this. Spain must beat Australia to avoid finishing fourth. From top of the world to bottom of the group. That sums up the extent of their fall. The developing details also reveal the nature of that fall.

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Given the stories coming out of the camp, Spain are starting to unravel in the manner of France back in 2002.

First of all, though, there is the exodus. Xabi Alonso was the first to announce his international retirement, amid growing stories of his rift with a lot of the rest of the squad. Many were known to be unimpressed with his comments about a “loss of hunger” and some publicly disagreed with him.

Beyond that, there was the very public disagreement between Vicente Del Bosque and Cesc Fabregas at training.

“I think of everyone and they only think of themselves,” the manager said this weekend.

At the least, this game offers the chance to tentatively begin a renewal, given that Del Bosque is expected to make widespread changes.

Australia, however, will fancy their chances of exploiting that and claiming third place. Like Ghana, they are perhaps one of only two teams in the tournament whose results and points don’t properly reflect their performances. As of now, and rather unlike Spain, they can go home with an awful lot of pride.

It perhaps says much about this magnificent World Cup that, ahead of the last round of fixtures, they are two of only five teams mathematically eliminated.

It says so much more about Spain’s collapse.