Chile come into this World Cup with many tipping them to be dark horses in a tough group which contains 2010’s finalists. Their first group game sees them pitted against an Australia side who will be determined to prove their critics wrong and show that they are not simply going to be Group B’s whipping boys.
Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli has produced a hard-working, attacking side who’s lightning quick play can have devastating effects on opponents, with Eduardo Vargas and Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez providing the pace and flair in the final third, whilst Arturo Vidal will look to dictate play from the middle, if he comes through his injury concern. Sampaoli’s men have only lost three games in their last eighteen, since the start of 2013, and they will come into the tournament’s opener with a great deal of confidence, looking to get their campaign off to a winning start in what will no doubt be their easiest game, against Australia.
The Socceroos on the other hand have failed to win any of their three matches in 2014, and coach Ange Postecoglu will go into their tournament opener having never managed a competitive game with his team. Mile Jedinak, the unsung hero of Crystal Palace’s impressive season, and former Everton favourite Tim Cahill are Australia’s stand out players in a side who are unlikely to cause many waves in this difficult group, and will face a tough test on Friday against a strong Chile side.
KICK-OFF: Friday, 11pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Chile 2 Australia 1, International Friendly, February 2000
Australia 0 Chile 1, International Friendly, February 1998
Chile 3 Australia 0, International Friendly, April 1996
Australia's squad has the second lowest number of total caps out of all 32 teams, with only 392.
Australia's squad has a very low average age of 25 compared to Chile's average age of 28.
14 players in Australia's 23 man squad are aged 25 or younger.
Chile have never lost to Australia in 4 meetings.
Chile have only lost three games since the start of 2013, with two of these coming against Spain and Germany.
The only World Cup encounter between Chile and Australia finished as a 0-0 draw in 1974.
Australia have only one Premier League player in their squad, in Mile Jedinak, but also have two football league players in Swindon's Massimo Luongo and Preston's Bailey Wright.
Chile have no Premier League players in their squad but also have two football league players ; Jean Beausejour from Wigan and Gonzalo Jara from Nottingham Forest.
Chile to win: 1.44
Australia to win: 9.5
TV: Live on ITV at 11pm