The first time Chile and Australia faced each other at the FIFA World Cup, it was 30 years and less than a fortnight ago, at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, in the 1974 edition. On that day, La Roja and the Socceroos played to a scoreless draw in a match that meant little to the big picture in Group 1, as Germany, then divided into East and West, advanced to the knockout stages.
Now, on June 13 at the Arena Pantanal Cuiaba in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile and Ange Postecoglou’s Australia clash once again in Group B play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Friday night’s FIFA World Cup tilt between Chile and Australia.
1. Tim Cahill will score
With 69 caps and 32 national team goals, New York Red Bulls striker Tim Cahill is the face of Australia football and will get in on goal to deliver a spark to one of the underdogs of this tournament.
2. Mat Ryan with at least five saves
At the age of 22, with just seven caps to his credit, Club Brugge goalkeeper Mat Ryan will get the start for the Socceroos and come up huge against a very dangerous Chilean side. Ryan will make at least five saves on the night in Cuiaba.
3. Alexis Sanchez to score for Chile
Hailing from the footballing powerhouse that is La Liga’s very own F.C. Barcelona, Chile forward Alexis Sanchez had 67 caps and 22 goals for La Roja, and will score in the first half against the Socceroos.
4. Under six saves for Claudio Bravo
As this is Australia they are facing, there won’t be much to do for Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who has 79 caps for his country. The Real Sociedad netminder will make under six saves on the night.
5. Here comes Eduardo Vargas
At the young age of 24, Valencia striker Eduardo Vargas is a hot Chilean commodity, with 30 caps and 14 goals to his credit. Vargas will score in this match in the second half.
6. Arturo Vidal with a goal and an assist
A bookend for defending Serie A Champions Juventus, Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal is another player to watch. His playmaking ability will be on display on Friday, with at least a goal and an assist to his credit. Vidal has 54 caps and eight goals for Chile coming into this tournament.
7. No goals for Esteban Paredes
Colo-Colo is the powerhouse in Chilean club football, and one of its players, forward Esteban Paredes, is on the national team, with 35 caps and 10 goals. Against Australia, Paredes will not score, as he will be one of a few players that the Socceroos backline will be able to successfully contain.
8. No goals or assists for Mark Bresciano
Mark Bresciano is one of Australia’s most decorated Socceroos, with 74 caps and 13 goals. He will be showing his age against Chile, however, and will not record a goal or assist in this game.
9. At least 40 fouls and four cards
Chile will bring some fast and fluid play to Australia and it will force the Socceroos to bring a physical game to counter. At least 40 fouls will be whistles and at least four cards will be issued.
10. Chile cruises to win over Australia
Chile have yet to lose to Australia in all their meetings, sporting a 3-0-1 record. Against the Socceroos, La Roja will take the first big leap forward to challenge Spain and the Netherlands for the right to move on to the Round of 16.
Chile 3, Australia 1