- POSTED: 18 Jun 2014 19:43
- UPDATED: 18 Jun 2014 19:45
Defending champions Spain could be knocked out of the World Cup on Wednesday if they crash and burn against Chile at the Maracana stadium, the spiritual home of the Brazilian game.
RIO DE JANEIRO: Defending champions Spain could be knocked out of the World Cup on Wednesday if they crash and burn against Chile at the Maracana stadium, the spiritual home of the Brazilian game.
Humiliated 5-1 by the Netherlands in their opening Group B game, the 2010 winners and two-time European champions, will be doomed if they lose to Chile and the Dutch avoid defeat to Australia earlier in the day in Porto Alegre.
Only three defending champions have previously fallen at the first hurdle -- Brazil in 1966, France in 2002, and Italy in 2010 -- and midfield star Andres Iniesta knows that Spain face a challenge to survive.
"Chile are a difficult team because we'll have to defend and we'll have to fight one against one," said the Barcelona midfielder, scorer of the decisive extra-time goal against Holland in the 2010 final.
"We must be able to make the right passes, and look for those in space, so we can score goals.
"Our only goal right now is winning so we can go to the next phase. But we trust ourselves and we're well equipped for that."
Chile won 3-1 against Australia in their first game and coach Jorge Sampaoli has admitted that Spain's capitulation to the Dutch will influence his side's approach to the game.
"We had already developed a system before the World Cup and we already knew how we'd play against Spain," said the Argentine, whose side have lost only twice in their last 16 games.
"Obviously after watching Spain against Holland, we've considered minor changes, but Spain didn't deserve such a defeat."
He cautioned: "Don't forget they lost against Switzerland in their opening game at the last World Cup, but still became champions."
Sampaoli will wait until just before kick-off before deciding whether to hand a start to Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, who is recovering from knee surgery and managed only 60 minutes against Australia.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has hinted that he will make changes to his starting XI, with Pedro Rodriguez, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres all in contention to come into the team.