The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
(Tue 24 Jun 2014, 02.00AM AEST)
Venue: Arena da Baixada
Attendance: 39375


FFA TV | Exclusive: Ange previews Spain clash

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FFA TV | Exclusive: Ange previews Spain clash
FFA TV | Exclusive: Ange previews Spain clash

World Cup preview: Socceroos v Spain

The Socceroos are unable to progress from Group B but can at least hold their heads high after two honourable losses, 3-1 to Chile and 3-2 to the Netherlands, defying gloomy pre-tournament predictions that they would be embarrassed by the world's best in Brazil.

Spain meanwhile, the Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 champions, suffered a disastrous 5-1 defeat to a rampant Dutch side, before going down 2-0 to Chile, a scoreline that flattered Vicente del Bosque's lacklustre team.

The Socceroos and La Roja will meet at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba at 2am on Tuesday morning AEST, playing for pride and seeking to avoid going home empty handed.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou will be without star forward Tim Cahill, scorer of a wonderful left-foot volley against the Netherlands, after he picked up a second yellow card of the tournament for a heavy challenge on Bruno Martins Indi.

Mathew Leckie impressed on the right in that game and is one of the candidates to replace Cahill at centre-forward, with Ben Halloran to come in to the starting XI on the flank in that scenario.

Postecoglou's other option is to bring in striker Adam Taggart as a straight swap for the suspended veteran, although the Newcastle Jets youngster is more likely to be used off the bench.

Barring injury, the rest of the team should remain unchanged, with Ryan McGowan and Matt McKay acquitting themselves well after coming in for injured duo Ivan Franjic and Mark Milligan.

Mark Bresciano only lasted until the 50th minute against the Netherlands and he has hinted to FFA TV he may not be fit enough to start this clash with a hip flexor injury now concerning the Socceroo talisman who's also been troubled by a back complaint. 

Oliver Bozanic performed strongly after being introduced in place of the veteran playmaker in Porto Alegre, and is the most logical and likely replacement. 

Del Bosque meanwhile could well ring the changes for a Spain side desperately seeking to restore a modicum of pride, with Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas - a national team stalwart - still in the firing line after failing to convince against the Netherlands and Chile.

The decision to select Brazilian-born Diego Costa, a naturalised Spanish citizen, at centre-forward has also backfired, with the Atletico Madrid man failing to make an impression at the tournament on home soil.

Fernando Torres or Melbourne Heart-bound David Villa could start ahead of him, or Del Bosque could opt for Cesc Fabregas to play as a false nine.

Beating a team that until recently was rightly considered one of the most dominant forces international football has ever seen remains a huge ask for Australia, but the Socceroos appear to have a far better chance of causing an upset than when the draw was made late last year. 

And a morale-boosting win against the outgoing holders would give Postecoglou and his players enormous confidence going into the 2015 Asian Cup and the next World Cup qualifying campaign.

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Socceroos succumb to Spain's stars

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Jedinak laments lack of focus

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Ange to take positives from Brazil

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Socceroos succumb to Spain's stars
Socceroos succumb to Spain's stars
Jedinak laments lack of focus
Jedinak laments lack of focus
Ange to take positives from Brazil
Ange to take positives from Brazil

Classy Spain too strong for Socceroos

​The Socceroos have signed off from the World Cup with a 3-0 loss to a classy Spain thanks to goals from Hyundai A-League bound David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

It was a game that Australia started strongly but Spain worked their way into the contest with Villa’s first half back heel giving Vicente Del Bosque’s side a worthy half time lead.

Torres made it two in the second half after of a brilliant through ball from Andres Iniesta with Mata making it three late on.  

After two eye-catching performances against Chile and Holland, the Socceroos were unable to find a way past the super Spaniards who rarely got out of second gear.  

The Socceroos started with Adam Taggart up front for suspended Tim Cahill and Oliver Bozanic as the central playmaker in place of injured Mark Bresciano.

On a disappointing pitch that had many players struggling to keep their feet, the Socceroos started the first half in whirlwind fashion.

A low shot from distance by Matt Leckie whizzed past Pepe Reina’s goal as the Aussies sent a clear warning in the first five minutes with their energetic pressing.

Melbourne City bound David Villa was the main outlet for Spain down the left flank for Spain but it was the Socceroos dominating possession and playing at a higher intensity.

On 20 minutes, Spain’s first real chance saw Iniesta’s ball across the box finding Villa but his shot skewed wide. 

Villa again found space outside the box for Jordi Alba to run on and smash a shot straight at Mat Ryan as the Spaniards began to find their feet on the Arena da Baixada surface.

The pace of the game slowed by the half hour mark which suited Spain and it was Villa again tormenting the Socceroo defence with a step over to find space but his low cross just failed to find Torres.

But it was no surprise that Villa would open the scoring.

Iniesta’s perfect ball split the Aussie defence on the left and Juanfran ran through, crossed from the byline for the legendary Spaniard on his own to back heel past Ryan to open the scoring.

Australia almost equalised straight from the kick-off but Spain cleared the danger with Taggart threatening.

It could’ve been 2-0 with Villa again the architect but Santi Cazorla’s pull back was intercepted by Alex Wilkinson.

A goal down at the break and there was plenty to ponder for Ange Postecoglou. 

Changes were made though with Ben Halloran on for Taggart and Leckie moving to a central role for the second half.

Leckie’s pace gave the Aussies a half chance early but his lay off into the box for Oar failed to trouble Spain.

But the Utrecht striker hurt his knee in the process and was subbed off for James Troisi on the hour mark.

The Socceroos got back on top of the Spanish with Halloran asking a few questions of Jordi Alba down the Aussie right.

But with momentum shifting to the Socceroos it was the Spanish who easily opened up the Socceroo defence with Iniesta's slide rule ball and Torres slid home past Ryan to make it 2-0.

Mark Bresciano’s arrival in place of Bozanic gave the Aussies an extra edge in the middle of the park but with Mata, Silva and Fabregas off the bench for Spain it was always going to be a difficult ask for the veteran.

Spain grabbed a third after Mata found space in behind off a Fabregas ball and the Manchester United man slotted home under Ryan.

The Socceroos looked fatigued in the final ten minutes after an energetic campaign that caught the eye of many.

David Silva should've made it four with a drive going wide of Ryan's goal as the Spanish ended the game on top. 

Jason Davidson's last ditch tackle saved a fourth goal showing great determination but there would be no comeback from the brave Aussies.

Australia 0

Spain 3 (Villa 36, Torres 69, Mata 82)


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