‘Predictable’ Spain beatable at World Cup

The man who orchestrated one of the biggest upsets of international football in 2013 has given Australia hope of causing at least one surprise at the World Cup.

South Africa coach Gordon Igesund believes Spain have become 'very predictable'.

Bafana Bafana defeated the reigning world and European champions 1-0 in an international friendly in November last year thanks to a goal from Bernard Parker.

Vicente del Bosque's side are sure to demonstrate more of a competitive edge up against the Socceroos when defending their crown in Brazil next month in the two teams' final group stage game.

But Igesund believes a side that had been lauded as one of the shinning lights of the beautiful game may have begun to lose their sparkle.

"Obviously Spain were the world champions when we played them and European champions but just in my humble opinion I think Spain has become very predictable, the way they play," he told a press conference ahead of South Africa's friendly clash with Australia in Sydney on Monday.

"They just continuously play the same way over and over and over. They don't get wide, they don't get balls into the box.

“When they get into those wide positions they want to pass it and pass it and keep going down the middle. You can plan against them, unless they change things."

Spain were taken apart by Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup final, while Barcelona, the Liga club side which most resemble the national team tactically, have also endured disappointments at home and in Europe during the 2013-14 campaign.

"Obviously they are a quality team, no doubt about it, they have great players on their side but I think if you play properly against them you can get something out of it," Igesund said.

"They are very, very predictable. It's very similar to Barcelona, they play the same way all the time and I think teams are getting used to the way they play."

The Bafana boss did however stop short of backing Ange Postecoglou's team when they go up against La Roja in Curitiba on June 23.

"I'll probably be able to answer that a little better after tomorrow night's game," he said when asked if the Socceroos are capable causing what would a seismic shock.

While South Africa have been hit by a spate of high-profile withdrawals ahead of their friendlies with Australia and New Zealand, Igesund dismissed accusations his side is in crisis.

"Obviously there's a couple of players missing who are the so-called big name players," he said.

"The squad I've got here is part of a group of about 34 players I've selected to take us forward for 2015 African Cup of Nations and of course for the 2018 World Cup.

"The team is a formidable team, it's a highly talented squad. It's a new generation. We've got a new group of players and I think they're going to put a good showing."

Send Off the Socceroos

Socceroos vs South Africa, presented by NAB

Monday 26 May 2014
 ANZ Stadium, Sydney 
Kick-off: 7.30pm
Tickets from $30, including public transport. Buy now!

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