Wilko eyes Sanchez showdown

Alex Wilkinson is looking forward to the challenge of facing Alexis Sanchez but says the Socceroos can't afford to focus too much on individuals when they go up against Chile.

At 29 and with just three caps - two of them starts - to his name, Wilkinson is a late bloomer on the international stage.

On Friday (Saturday morning AEST) he will be part of an Australian backline charged with keeping out a Chile attack that includes Barcelona forward Sanchez.

And while the Jeonbuk Motors centre-back has welcomed the opportunity to lock horns with a star of the Camp Nou, he knows there are 10 other elite La Roja players the men in green and gold must be wary of.

"Of course, it's exciting," he told Goal Australia when asked about facing Sanchez.

"As a footballer you always want to test yourself against the best. Without a doubt our group has got a number of the best players in the world. It's exciting and obviously you do have to worry about the individual. They've all got a lot of good strengths that have got them to where they are.

"But as a team you don't want to worry too much about one player. Concentrate too much on one player and it creates space in other areas. Obviously you've got to win your one-on-one battles. If you're up against a player of that calibre you've got to be careful."

Chile are expected to employ their typically energetic, aggressive approach against Australia in Cuiaba, with Wilkinson braced for an exhausting 90 minutes at the Arena Pantanal.

"They base their game around a lot of high pressure, relentless pressure," he said.

"They played Germany a while back and did it quite well against them. It's obviously going to be a challenge but one we're looking forward to."

Judging by their performance in a 2-0 win over England at Wembley last November, when Chile dominated possession and picked apart their opponents, a manic, high-tempo approach isn't the only option for Jorge Sampaoli's men.

There remains the possibility the South American side will sit back and attempt to pass their way through Australia, making it harder for the Socceroos to launch counterattacks.

Irrespective of how Chile choose to set up on Friday, Wilkinson claims his team-mates will be ready.

"Once you get to this sort of level most teams will be flexible, can play a number of formations," he said.

"If they want they can play on the counterattack, if they want they can keep the ball and have a possession-based game. I'm sure Netherlands and Spain will probably be the same.

"So first things first with Chile, but then we've got some other tough challenges as well."

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