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Media warned about its coverage of the unrest in Brazil

Security and police officials in Rio de Janeiro warned members of the press about the way they cover the demonstrations against the World Cup.

protestors

Colombia v Greece – tactical guide

Looking ahead to the tactical permutations arising from Group C's opening game between Colombia and Greece.

Jose Pekerman Colombia

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has a decision to make: who to replace Radamel Falcao.

13 June 2014

Colombia v Greece  Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte 17:00 (BST)

Colombia

Squad stability has been a hallmark of Jose Pekerman’s tenure, with few changes expected from the side that strolled through qualifying. 

Blessed with flair, balance and  an exciting mix of attacking options, the coach favours a loose 4-2-2-2 system that seeks to dominate possession and push teams on  the back foot. Whether overawing opposition defences via the raw pace of wingbacks Pablo Armero and Camilo Zuniga, or by exploiting the tricks and decisive passes of David RodriguezMacnelly Torres or  Juan Cuadrado, Colombia are most comfortable when dictating the flow of the game. Pekerman didn’t make wholesale changes to the sterile and ponderous side  he inherited in January 2012, but instead gradually tweaked the squad in terms of fine-tuning both personnel and tactics. 

It is, however, surely time for the curtain to fall on the central defensive partnership of Mario Yepes (38) and Luis Perea (35), with both players looking as old as their years suggest. But, as yet, neither Cristian Zapata nor Carlos Valdes have convinced as alternatives and defensive midfielder Edwin Valenciawill continue to drop back and shore up the yawning gaps. Alongside Valencia, Pekerman needs to decide whether he prefers a similarly minded midfielder likeCarlos Sanchez, or instead play somebody like Abel AguilarAldo Leao Ramirez or Fredy Guarin in a more mixed role.

Pekerman’s two-year building exercise could face its most rigorous examination without leading light Falcao if he fails to make the trip. How to seamlessly integrate potential replacements Jackson Martinez  or Carlos Bacca – who both failed to score a single goal in qualifying – into the side in such a short time will be one of the coach’s biggest challenges. Falcao and Teofilo Gutierrez were the indisputable first-choice strike pair. But without Falcao, it will be two from Gutierrez, Bacca and Martinez.

Behind the strikers Rodriguez is a certainty to start on the left while Cuadrado is strong on the right. Torres was an important player in qualifying but could  be on the bench because of a lack of speed.

Plan B

The alternative to two strikers is to go for  just one main forward supported by three creative players. Victor Ibarbo could move onto the left wing, with Rodriguez moving into a more central position.

Greece

For almost a decade and a half the Greek national team has been set in its ways: functional, defensively orientated, hard to beat, adept at making the most of its limited attacking opportunities and sticking to tried-and-tested personnel. Although not particularly pretty, the system has proved to be very effective.

Santos will almost certainly keep the same successful shape that enabled Greece to qualify for the finals. His flexible 4-3-3 system can easily be adapted to that of his opponent, whether they are 4-4-1-1, 4-2-3-1 or even 4-4-2.

The first objective is to create a compact defensive unit, which is traditionally Greece’s greatest strength – as seen in their successful Euro 2004 campaign. Dimitris Siovas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos  will keep things tight in central defence, with Kostas Manolas pushing for a start. Santos likes his team to attack more than Greek national sides in the past, so Vasilis Torosidis and Jose Holebas will be expected to surge forward down the flanks.

Midfield could be a problem for Santos, with veterans Giorgos Karagounis and Kostas Katsouranis – who were part of the Euro 2004-winning squad – finding it hard to  play the full 90 minutes these days, so Alexandros Tziolis is likely to start, along with Giannis Maniatis.

Up front, Kostas Mitroglou – if he is passed fit – will make all the difference, with support from Dimitris Salpingidis and Giorgos Samaras.

Plan B?

Santos sometimes finds it hard to come up with an alternative strategy, and his team can lack fluidity and control and regularly overdo the long ball.

When a game begins to ebb away  from Greece, Santos will turn to the skilful attacking types he does not completely trust, such as Sotiris NinisGiannis FetfatzidisLazaros Christodoulopoulos and Panagiotis Kone.

To give the side more dynamism, a 4-2-3-1 may be used, with Olympiakos midfield holding duo of Maniatis and Andreas Samaris offering more “legs”  than Tziolis, Karagounis or Katsouranis. Fetfatzidis as a “false nine” is another option.

Cesare Prandelli wary of England attacking quartet

Ahead of tonight's Group D game in Manaus, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has been speaking about the threat posed by England's attacking quartet.

Cesare Prandelli Italy

Prandelli admitted it was key that his own players must control the play to prevent England’s pacey forwards running amok.

World Cup Day 3

How do you support your country In Brazil but remain implacably opposed to the World Cup?

van-persie-van-gaal

14:13pm (BST)

Battle of the strikers

Italy face England tonight in one of the more eagerly awaited group matches. Both teams are expected to go with a lone striker this evening. For England, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge will lead the line, while Italy will rely on the mercurial talents of Milan’s Mario Balotelli.

Both carry a goal threat, but as you can see from this helpful graphic supplied by whoscored.com, looking at the 2013-14 season, it is Sturridge who appears to carry the greater threat.

Daniel Sturridge v Mario Balotelli

12:46pm (BST)

View from Brazil

World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton is in Brazil for the next month. He’ll be writing regular bLogs on his experiences at the World Cup, watching the action on the pitch and monitoring the mood off it.

Today, he looks at the hosts opening day victory over Croatia, and notes how many in Brazil are trying to reconcile their support for the home nation whilst maintaining their opposition to the tournament itself.

World Cup Day 3

Early goal in the second half from Balotelli puts Italy 2-1 ahead
Costa Rica score two in 3 minutes to take lead over Uruguay
Colombia stroll to comfortable 3-0 win over Greece
Colombia take early lead against Greece
Iker Casillas holds his hand up
Pirlo v Gerrard...Sturridge v Balotelli...who comes out on top?
How do you support your country In Brazil but remain implacably opposed to the World Cup?

balotelli-goal

02:00pm (BST) 

We’re underway in rainy Recife for the fourth game of the day. At 22:00 local time, this is the latest kick-off time of the tournament.

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01:43pm (BST)

Line-ups

The teams have been announced for the final game of the day, Ivory Coast v Japan:

Ivory Coast: Barry: Boka, Zokora, Bamba, Aurier: Yaya Toure, Tiote, Serey; Kalou, Bony, Gervinho

Japan: Kawashima; Uchida, Yoshida, Morishige, Nagatomo; Yamaguchi, Hasebe; Okazaki,  Kagawa, Honda; Osako

00:54pm (BST)

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00:20pm (BST)

Full time

England 1-2 Italy

Scorers:

England:

  • Sturridge 37

Italy:

  • Marchisio 35
  • Balotelli 55
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00:52pm (BST)

Close

Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick form the edge of the area completely bamboozles Joe Hart and cannons back off the crossbar.

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00:20pm (BST)

Close

Baines find the unmarked Rooney 15 yards out but the striker screws his shot inches wide.

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00:05pm (BST)

Goal

England 1-2 Italy

  • Balotelli 50

Italy regain the lead through Mario Balotelli. Not for the first time, Candreva beats Leighton Baines to supply a cross from the right which the striker buries the header past Hart.

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23:45pm (BST)

Close

Mario Balotelli does well to beat Joe Hart to a loose ball, and he then chips the retreating keeper, but Phil Jagielka is on hand to head off the goalline.

From the resulting corner, the ball is not cleared and Antonio Candreva screws in a near post shot which beats Hart but comes back off the post.

That’s the last action of an eventful first half.

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23:37pm (BST)

Goal!

Daniel Sturridge equaliser

England 1-1 Italy

  • Sturridge 37

Immediate response from England. Sterling sets Rooney free on the left and he floats an inviting cross into the path of Sturridge, who sweeps the ball in from close range on the half volley.

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23:35pm (BST)
Marchisio celebrates scoring

Goal!

England 0-1 Italy

  • Marchisio 35

It’s a well worked corner from Italy and the ball is rolled to Pirlo who lets it run through his legs for Marchisio, and the midfielder has time to pick his spot and lash in a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

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23:22pm (BST)

Close

Glen Johnson sends Danny Welbeck through on the right and the forward does well to get to the byline, before supplying a dangerous cross which Andrea Barzagli slices away for a corner with Daniel Sturridge lurking.

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23:00pm (BST)

England 0-0 Italy

We’re underway in Manaus for the 3rd game of the day.

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22:40pm (BST)

Line-ups

The teams have been announced and England coach Roy Hodgson has sprung something of a surprise by including Raheem Sterling in his starting line-up in place of Adam Lallana.

As expected, Gigi Buffon is out for Italy as Andrea Pirlo takes the captain’s armband.

England: Hart: Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines; Gerrard, Henderson; Welbeck, Sterling, Rooney; Sturridge

Italy: Sirigu, Chiellini, Darmian, Candreva, Marchisio, Balotelli, Barzagli, De Rossi, Paletta, Pirlo (c), Verratti

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21:59pm (BST)

Full time – Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica

Goalscorers:

Uruguay:

  • Cavani pen 23

Costa Rica:

  • Campbell 54
  • Duarte 57
  • Urena 85

Red card:

  • Maximiliano Pereira (Uru.) 95

To compound their woes, Uruguay have pitbull-like enforcer, Maxi Pereira, sent off after he takes a wild swing at Campbell near the corner flag. That momentary lapse of control will rule him out of Uruguay’s next game against England.

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21:54pm (BST)

Red card

  • Maximiliano Pereira 95

To compound their woes, Uruguay have pitbull-like enforcer, Maxi Pereira, sent off after he takes a wild swing at Campbell near the corner flag. That momentary lapse of control will rule him out of Uruguay’s next game against England.

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21:26pm (BST)

Goa!l

Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica

  • Marcus Urena 85

Campbell is the provider, sliding a beautifully weighted pass through to substitute Marcus Urena, who has burst beyond the Uruguayan defence and calmly slots the ball past the onrushing Muslera.

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21:26pm (BST)

Stat of the match

Costa Rica: Have scored two goals from 3 shots on target against Uruguay tonight #URUvsCRC

— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 14, 2014

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21:16pm (BST)

Goal!

Uruguay 1-2 Costa Rica

  • Oscar Duarte 57

Costa Rica have threatened before from set-pieces and this time they punish some slack marking by the Uruguayan rearguard. It’s a teasing delivery, as Duarte peels off the last man and launches himself into a diving header which evades Fernando Muslera and nestles into the far corner.

Luis Suarez is warming up on the touchline. How long before we see him on the pitch? How fit is the Liverpool striker?

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21:13pm (BST)

campbell-goal-uruguay

Goal!

Uruguay 1-1 Costa Rica

  • Joel Campbell 54

He’s been Costa Rica’s and arguably the game’s best player – certainly its most inventive. Joel Campbell rifles home with an unstoppable left shot after great work by Cristian Gamboa.

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20:48pm (BST)

Half-time -Uruguay 1-0 Costa Rica

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20:44pm (BST)

Great save!

The ball comes to Diego Forlan on the left hand side of the penalty area, and the veteran takes a swing at it and his deflected shot loops towards the far corner, but Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas makes an acrobatic save to tip over.

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20:24pm (BST)

Edinson Cavani opens the scoring for Uruguay from the penalty spot.

Edinson Cavani opens the scoring for Uruguay from the penalty spot.

Goal!

Uruguay 1-0  Costa Rica

  • Cavani pen 23

Cavani dispatches the resulting penalty and the favourites are ahead.

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20:22pm (BST)

Penalty!

Uruguay awarded a penalty. There is confusion over the award of the penalty with Costa Rica surrounding the referee claiming that Uruguay’s Diego Lugano has handled, but replays show that the defender was being hauled to he floor as the cross came in.

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20:16pm (BST)

Disallowed goal

Uruguay have the ball in the back of the Costa Rican net, but Diego Godin has strayed offside. Moments later there’s a glorious opportunity for the unmarked Edinson Cavani after a free-kick is sliced into his path, but the PSG striker flashes his volley wide.

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20:00pm (BST)

Uruguay-Costa Rica

The second match of the day, and the first in Group D is underway in Fortaleza. Uruguay, even without injured striker Luis Suarez, will be expected to overcome a limited Costa Rica side.

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19:38pm (BST)

Dutch masterclass

The football world is still digesting the implications of Holland’s remarkable 5-1 demolition of world champions Spain. World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton has paid tribute to the flexibility of Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal, and identified the tactical changes that made the win possible.

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19:28pm (BST)

Rodriguez-colombia-greece

Colombia 3-0 Greece – what have we learned?

A comfortable win for Colombia against a disappointing Greek side. For all the match details, plus our thoughts on the game, click here.

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17:54pm (BST)

Full time – Colombia 3-0 Greece

Goalscorers:

  • Pablo Armero 5
  • Gutiérrez 58
  • Rodriguez 93
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17:50pm (BST)

Goal!

Colombia 3-0 Greece

  • Rodriguez 93

Juan Cuadrado, the game’s outstanding performer, embarks upon another penetrative run, after a quick free kick before the ball reaches James Rodriguez via backheel, and he guides a low shot ast the keeper.

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17:20pm (BST)

Close

It is hard to see a way back, especially if they pass up opportunities like the one squandered by Theofanis Gekas. Shocking miss by the striker who heads on to the underside of the crossbar from two yards out, before Colombia clear off the line.

Miss of the tournament by Gekas who is forced to perform the walk of shame as he is immediately replaced by Kostas Mitroglou.

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17:17pm (BST)

Goal!

Colombia 2-0 Greece

  • Gutiérrez 58

Hard to see a way back from Greece now. Abel Aguilar flicks on a low James Rodriguez cross into the box for Teofilo Gutierrez, who is standing unmarked at the far post and cannot miss.

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Colombia take an early lead against Greece.

Colombia take an early lead against Greece.

17:56pm (BST)

Half-time Colombia 1-0 Greece

Let’s be honest, it’s not a classic encounter in Belo Horizonte, but both teams have had their chances. Colombia have shaded it and just about deserved the lead but Greece’s Panagiotis Kone drew a great save from David Ospina to remind the South American side that this is not a foregone conclusion.

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17:06pm (BST)

Goal!

Colombia 1-0 Greece

  • Pablo Armero 5

Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado jinks his way past a defender on the right and supplies a low ball into the area for Pablo Armero, whose shot is diverted via a Greek defender inside the post.

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17:00pm (BST)

Colombia v Greece

We’re underway in Belo Horizonte.

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Media warned about balance of reports

16:12pm (BST)

Media warned about balance of reports

Although the tournament has passed off relatively peacefully so far, security and police officials in Rio de Janeiro have warned members of the press about the way they cover the demonstrations against the World Cup.

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16:12pm (BST)

Colombia v Greece – tactical guide

Group C kicks off this afternoon with Colombia meeting Greece in Belo Horizonte. Colombia are without star striker Radamel Falcao who failed to recover from injury in time for the tournament. In his absence, coach Jose Pekerman has a number of decisions to make. Read our thoughts on his tactical options.

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15:40pm (BST)

Quote of the day

“The first thing I have to do is offer a mea culpa. This is the worst performance of my career. We have to say sorry. Holland were very good, we were the complete opposite. Sometimes it’s good for things like this to happen so that you can react but we have to react now.”

The 5-1 hammering by Holland was a painful defeat for Spain, particularly for Iker Casillas who endured a forgettable night in Salvador. To his credit, the Real Madrid keeper did not hide afterwards, speaking candidly about his own performance – one which could signal the end of an illustrious international career.

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15:18pm (BST)

Italy coach wary

Since the emergence on the international stage of the likes of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, much (probably too much) has been made of England’s pacey options up front.

Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, whose side face England in Manaus tonight, has been speaking of the game-changing potential posed by Roy Hodgson’s attacking quartet.

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14:13pm (BST)

Midield generals

In midfield, it’s a similar story, with Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard enjoying a stellar season with Liverpool , while for Italy, Juventus’ Andre Pirlo was equally effective, though perhaps less eye catching.

Gerrard edges it domestically, but on the international stage, not least two years ago in Kiev, when Pirlo gave his English adversary an object lesson in controlled midfield play, the Italian is is the dominant force.

Midfield generals...both Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo will look to pull the strings.

Midfield generals…both Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo will look to pull the strings.

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14:13pm (BST)

Battle of the strikers

Italy face England tonight in one of the more eagerly awaited group matches. Both teams are expected to go with a lone striker this evening. For England, Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge will lead the line, while Italy will rely on the mercurial talents of Milan’s Mario Balotelli.

Both carry a goal threat, but as you can see from this helpful graphic supplied by whoscored.com, looking at the 2013-14 season, it is Sturridge who appears to carry the greater threat.

Daniel Sturridge v Mario Balotelli

Striking options…Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli are both potential match winners.

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12:46pm (BST)

View from Brazil

World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton is in Brazil for the next month. He’ll be writing regular bLogs on his experiences at the World Cup, watching the action on the pitch and monitoring the mood off it.

Today, he looks at the hosts opening day victory over Croatia, and notes how many in Brazil are trying to reconcile their support for the home nation whilst maintaining their opposition to the tournament itself.

Brazil expects but doubts remain

World Soccer editor Gavin Hamilton shares his thoughts on Brazil's unconvincing opening day win over Croatia.

Neymar

Sao Paulo partied late into the night on Thursday. From my hotel just off the Avenida Paulista I could hear the car horns and celebrations going on into the early hours. Any other country and you would have thought they had won the World Cup but the 3-1 defeat of Croatia was still a significant victory for Brazil.

Neymar’s post-goal celebration, running to hug coach Scolari and the rest of the bench, encapsulated the delight – and relief – felt throughout the country. Neymar was under huge pressure before the game, not helped by comments from Dunga, the man who left him out of Brazil’s 2010 World Cup, who Brazil expected him to deliver.

Neymar’s slender young shoulders may carry the hopes of a nation, but against Croatia, just as in last year’s Confederations Cup, he showed that he can handle the pressure. For Brazil, though, the problems lie elsewhere.

Marcelo, Dani Alves and David Luiz all showed great attacking intent against Croatia. Unfortunately, Thiago Silva was the only member of the back four who looked capable of defending. The right flank looked particularly vulnerable, with Ivica Olic a threat in the first half, sending a header wide and suppling the cross that Marcelo turned into his own net for the opening goal.

Brazil’s key figures are likely to be the defensive midfielders, Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho, who will be needed to cover for the more adventurous forays of Luiz, in particular. The defensive midfield is probably the most important role in any international side. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were an ambitious pairing for Croatia, and it was a mistake by Rakitic that let in Oscar for Brazil’s third goal. Other teams are likely to be more cautious than Croatia.

Brazil were fortunate to win the penalty after Fred’s tumble fooled Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura. Still, they deserved their victory but it was not as convincing as the scoreline suggests. There have been plenty of upsets in Opening Matches of the World Cup – Cameroon beating Argentina in 1990, Senegal shocking France in 2002 – but Brazil 2014 was not to be among them. Brazilians will be grateful for that, but they will know that their team must improve in the coming weeks.

Brazil’s opening win has placed many Brazilians in a dilemma. Can they celebrate their side’s opening win, while also supporting the ongoing anti-government protests? Judging by Thursday’s events, it seems they can.

There was a strong police and army presence at many points throughout my journey from Sao Paulo airport to the stadium. Anti-government protestors were kept 10km away from the stadium and the authorities did not hesitate to use force to break up protests – as members of a television crew from CNN, hurt while covering one such protest, will testify.

State President Dilma Roussef celebrated Brazil’s victory in the stadium’s VIP section but was roundly booed by large sections of the crowd before the game. She believes her political fortunes are inexorably linked to that of the national side, but it may not be that simple.

Chile 3-1 Australia

Chile survive a second half onslaught to secure an opening game victory over Socceroos.

alexis-sanchez

looked like they were

Date: June 13, 2014

Result: Chile 3-1 Australia

Goalscorers:

Chile:

  • Alexeis Sanchez 12
  • Valdivia 14
  • Beausejour 92

Australia:

Venue: The Arena Pantanal stadium, Cuiaba

Attendance: 40,275

Match overview: Australia have only ever kept 1 clean sheet in their 10 previous World Cup matches. That came in a 0-0 draw with Chile back in 1974. They are are the lowest-ranked nation in the FIFA World Rankings competing at the 2014 World Cup. Chile’s 6 defeats in qualification was more than any other nation competing in Brazil suffered.

Key moment: Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo produced a fine save to deny Mark Bresciano midway through the second half. At the time, Chile were floundering and Australia, led by a typically combative Tim Cahill were sniffing an equaliser.

Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez. The Barcelona man opened the scoring and was at the heart of much of Chile’s best work.

Stats: Goal attempts

  • Chile 11
  • Australia 14

On target

  • Chile 9
  • Australia 6

Corners

  • Chile 3
  • Australia 1

Matter of fact: Tim Cahill has now scored at three separate World Cup tournaments – the first Australian to do so. His header against Chile extends his record as Australia’s leading goalscorer to 33.

Talking point: Chile, tipped by many as the dark horses of Brazil 2014, showed no signs of first night nerves, racing onto a two-goal lead. But, when a youthful Australia settled, weaknesses began to appear in the Chile defence, most notably when the Socceroos utilised the aerial threat of Cahill. Jorge Sampaoli has constructed a potent attacking force, but better sides than Australia will exploit their defensive vulnerabilities.

Line-ups:

Chile:

  • 01 Bravo
  • 04 Isla
  • 02 Mena
  • 21 Díaz
  • 17 Medel
  • 18 Jara
  • 20 Aránguiz
  • 10 Valdívia (Beausejour – 68′ )
  • 11 Vargas (Pinilla – 88′ )
  • 07 Sánchez
  • 08 Vidal (Gutierrez – 60′ )

Australia:

  • 01 Ryan
  • 02 Franjic (McGowan – 49′ )
  • 03 Davidson
  • 05 Milligan
  • 22 Wilkinson
  • 06 Spiranovic
  • 07 Leckie
  • 15 Jedinak
  • 04 Cahill
  • 23 Bresciano (Troisi – 78′ )
  • 11 Oar (Halloran – 69′ )

Goals:

Chile:

  • Alexeis Sanchez 12
  • Valdivia 14
  • Beausejour 92

Australia:

Yellow cards:

Chile:

  • Aranguiz 86

Australia:

  • Cahill 44, Jedinak 58, Milligan 67

Referee: Noumandiez Doue (Ivory Coast).

Robin Van Persie with an amazing diving header

Robin Van Persie scored one of the great headed goals in Holland's 5-1 win over Spain. Daley Blind sent in a long crossfield pass towards the Spanish penalty area, where Van Persie flung himself acrobatically to head past Iker Casillas ...

Spain 1-5 Holland

Robin Van Persie scores with a wonderful diving header.

Robin Van Persie scores with a wonderful diving header.

Date: June 13, 2014

Result: Spain 1-5 Holland

Goalscorers:

Spain:

  • Xabi Alonso pen. 27

Holland:

  • Van Persie 44
  • Robben 52
  • de Vrij 65
  • Van Persie 74
  • Robben 80

Venue: The Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador

Attendance: 48,173

Match overview: Wesley Sneijder was making his 100th appearance for Holland. Spain had won six matches in a row at the World Cup and had not conceded a goal in the process.

Key moment: A wonderfully disguised pass by Andres Iniesta set David Silva through on goal. But the Manchester City man tried to be too cute with his finish and Jasper Cillessen was able to palm his effort wide. Had that gone in Spain would have been 2-0 up and seemingly in control. Moments later Holland were level via Robin Van Persie’s wonderful diving header. On such small margins…

Man of the match: Arjen Robben. There were several contenders within the Dutch side, most notably Van Persie and the enterprising Daley Blind, but Robben terrorised the Spanish defence and but for a wonderful stop by Casillas, could have finished the game with a well deserved hat-trick.

Stats: Goal attempts

  • Spain 9
  • Holland 13

On target

  • Spain 6
  • Holland 11

Corners

  • Spain7
  • Holland 3

Matter of fact: This was the first time Spain had conceded 5 goals in an international match since losing 6-2 to Scotland in June 1963.

Talking point: Inevitably, given the scale and the manner of Spain’s loss, this defeat will be interpreted as an end of an era defeat. Coach Vicente del Bosque has just four days in which to exorcise the humiliation. Unfortunately, next up are Chile – everyone’s favourite dark horses. Meanwhile, Holland, who came here with low expectations, can now dream of a place in the knockout stages.

Line-ups:

Spain:

  • 01 Casillas
  • 22 Azpilicueta
  • 18 Alba
  • 14 Alonso (Pedro – 63′ )
  • 03 Piqué
  • 15 Ramos
  • 21 Silva (Fábregas – 78′ )
  • 16 Busquets
  • 19 Diego Costa (Torres – 62′ )
  • 08 Xavi
  • 06 Iniesta

Holland:

  • 01 Cillessen
  • 07 Janmaat
  • 05 Blind
  • 04 Martins Indi
  • 02 Vlaar
  • 03 de Vrij (Veltman – 77′ )
  • 08 de Guzmán (Wijnaldum – 62′ )
  • 06 de Jong
  • 10 Sneijder
  • 09 van Persie (Lens – 79′ )
  • 11 Robben

Goals:

Spain:

  • Xabi Alonso pen. 27

Holland:

  • Van Persie 44
  • Robben 52
  • de Vrij 65
  • Van Persie 74
  • Robben 80

Yellow cards:

Spain:

  • Casillas 65

Holland:

  • de Guzman 25, De Vrij 45, Van Persie 66

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).

Chile v Australia preview

While the so-called heavyweights do battle in Group B's opening match, Chile, fancied by some as dark horses in this tournament, take on Australia in Cuiaba.

FBL-WC-2014-STADIUM-ARENA PANTANAL

General view of the Arena Pantanal stadium in Cuiaba, Brazil on June 12, 2014, where Chile will face Australia for a FIFA World Cup match on Friday. AFP PHOTO/Juan BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

13 June 2014

Chile v Australia, Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba, 23:00 (BST).

Introduction

Chile have been mentioned as possible dark horses at this year’s World Cup.

Even in a group containing both finalists from four years ago, Chile are expecting to reach the knockout stages.  That underlines the progress made under coach Jorge Sampaoli, who replaced the Claudio Borghi in December 2012.

This is a new look Australia side under Ange Postecoglou. Out have gone established names like Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Hary Kewell and in have come 13 players with fewer than 10 caps. It’s fair to say that expectations are not sky high.

Team news

Chile are hoping star midfielder Arturo Vidal is fit and able to play when they meet Australia in Cuiaba.

The Juventus player has been struggling with inflammation in his right knee following an operation on his meniscus last month.

Tim Cahill will lead the Socceroos’ attack while veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano is doubtful with a back injury.

Tactics

Chile

Opening game against Australia will be all-important to Sampaoli’s attacking plans

Sampaoli says Chile’s style is non-negotiable – they will always seek to impose themselves, pressing their opponents in their half of the field and creating two-against-one situations down the flanks. But that does not mean that the formation is set in stone.

Sampaoli was in charge for the last seven World Cup qualifiers: in three of them Chile defended with a back three, while the others featured a line of four.

In both cases the full-backs are expected to push up at the same time. Against weaker opponents the tendency is to field two centre-backs – one to mark and one to cover – and this is the likely template for the opener against Australia.

The inactivity of Marcos Gonzalez at club level is making his place vulnerable, but there are few alternatives in central defence. Gary Medel, despite his lack of height, will play alongside him.

In front of the defensive line, Marcelo Diaz has a vital role in reading the game, closing down the spaces and organising the play from deep. The Australia match could be an important occasion for Jorge Valdivia, a talented but wayward playmaker who is set to be used as a “false nine”. He will be tasked with threading the passes through for Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, and make the most of runs from midfield by Arturo Vidal and Charles Aranguiz.

But Valdivia may not figure from the start in the other games. In a friendly against Spain last year, a back three, with more midfield protection, drew with the world champions, and a back three was also used against Germany. It would seem a logical step to use it in the meetings with Spain, to combat their midfield possession, and also against Holland, as protection against their speed on the transition.

Plan B?

A switch to a back three for the games against Spain and Holland would see Gonzalo Jara coming into the side as the extra centre-back, with Vidal being pushed further forward as an attacking replacement for Valdivia.

An alternative up front is the use of Sanchez as a central striker, with Vargas operating on the right and Jean Beausejour coming in on the left.

Holland

Big new hope Rogic may have to make do with a role from the subs’ bench

Postecoglou likes to play a 4-3-3, which is very much in vogue in Australia due to the national curriculum, developed by Dutch technical director Han Berger.

Whereas predecessor Osieck preferred a 4-4-1-1 shape, reliant largely upon experience and defensive structure, Postecoglou’s teams are set up to attack. Evident from his first friendly was a commitment to quick forward transition, playing out from the back, with Mile Jedinak or Mark Milligan often dropping in between the central defenders to set up the play.

The defence will be inexperienced if former captain Lucas Neill fails to play his way back into contention. Full-backs Ivan Franjic and perhaps Jason Davidson, in the problem left-back position, will be expected to push high and offer additional support to wide men Tommy Oar and Matthew Leckie, but the key could be Tomas Rogic.

Arguably the most talented player produced by Australia in years, Rogic is
a classic number 10 but is raw and has struggled with injury. It may be that he is used off the bench, with Mark Bresciano taking on more responsibility in the creative role. Bresciano, who was hit with a FIFA ban for an illegal transfer from Al Nasr to Al Gharafa, has been training with Melbourne Heart to stay fit.

Tim Cahill is still the most reliable source of goals, particularly from set-pieces, where his strength in the air, despite his diminutive frame, could be crucial. Josh Kennedy came off the bench to replace Cahill in the final qualifier against Iraq, a controversial move at the time, but he went on to score the winner.

Matt McKay is a potential “defensive” substitute, with Oliver Bozanic a back-up in central midfield. Further forward, Oar doesn’t have searing pace but his trickery allows him to create angles for crosses to the likes of Cahill and Kennedy. Dario Vidosic has an eye for goal and can pick a pass.

Plan B?

Cahill and Kennedy could possibly play together in a 4-4-2 diamond if they are searching for a goal late on, but Postecoglou isn’t keen on just lumping the ball in the air. More likely is the 4-3-3 becoming a more defensive 4-5-1 if Australia are trying to close out a game, with wide men Oar and Leckie tucking in.

Teams

Chile: to follow.

Australia: to follow.