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Friday, June 25, 2010

CHILE vs SPAIN >>> Match Preview

Swiss Still In With A Fighting Chance

The Round of 16 picture will take final shape after today's games as the curtain falls on Groups G and H.
Three hopefuls will be able to toast their progress at the final whistle, with Brazil having stayed faithful to a 32-year tradition by booking their ticket with a match to spare.

Everything remains feasible in Group H, on the other hand, with all four contenders dreaming of the knockout phase. Front-runners Chile are in the healthiest position given their six points from two outings and a draw against Spain would guarantee them top spot, while the European champions must triumph to have a chance of doing the same. They face pressure from Switzerland, who meet Honduras, and wins for both European teams would leave three sides on six points and everything coming down to goal difference or goals scored. In short, expect suspense.

Chile player to watch: Alexis Sanchez
Hardly an original choice given he has been his country's standout performer in wins over Honduras and Switzerland, but Friday's game gives Sanchez the chance to make his mark on one of the tournament favourites. Blessed with pace and superior technique, the winger is a dazzling presence in the Chile side and rumours of a possible move to Real Madrid are likely to gather pace if he can unlock Spain.

Spain player to watch: Iker Casillas
Not long ago, Casillas was regarded as the finest goalkeeper in the world but his reputation has taken a minor battering of late. His performances in South Africa have been unconvincing and with Chile impressing in their first two victories, the Real Madrid 'keeper may have to rediscover his best form if his country are to progress to the knockout stages. Though he is a favourite of Vicente del Bosque, Casillas needs to prove why he is chosen ahead of Jose Reina and Victor Valdes.

Key battle: Claudio Bravo v David Villa
The Chile 'keeper has only had to make three saves in the tournament so far following 1-0 wins over Honduras and Switzerland, and in Villa he comes up against one of the premier predators in world football. Villa scored twice in a 2-0 defeat of Honduras, the first a superb finish, and having missed the chance to claim a hat-trick when poking a penalty wide, he will be looking to make amends and improve his chances of winning the Golden Boot. He is available after FIFA took no action following his spat with Emilio Izaguirre of Honduras.

Spain surely have too much class to go home this early. They will dig out a win, but only just. Chile surely don't want to lose this one and face Brazil in the next round. Both teams are weary the Swiss are capable of making a total of 6 points with a victory over Honduras.
Reputations stands for nothing here >>> just ask the Italians.


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