It’s the end of an era of dominance for Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain, who saw their FIFA World Cup defense end at the hands of Chile in Group B play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. However, they have an opportunity to look positively toward the future when they take on Ange Postecoglou’s Australia, who stood tall against the Netherlands and only fell flat on their face against Chile in their opener.
Kickoff at the Arena da Baixada Curitiba in Curitiba, Brazil is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the match between Australia and Spain.
1. Pepe Reina with at least five saves
Since Australia is a more straightforward opponent for Spain, Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina should have a field day making saves. At least five saves will be made by Reina in this contest.
2. Mat Ryan with at least five saves
This FIFA World Cup has been a learning experience for Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan, but he will put on one final show for the Socceroos supporters. Ryan will make at least five saves in this match.
3. David Villa will score
This may be the the one game where Spain plays like Spain. One of the players that will score for Spain is David Villa, who has 58 goals in 96 appearances for La Furia Roja.
4. Xavi with a goal and an assist
133 caps, 13 goals. The mystique of Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez was unraveled at this FIFA World Cup, but he will hold his head high after this tournament is over. Xavi will score a goal and an assist.
5. A goal for Fernando Torres
Another well-accomplished goalscorer for Spain is Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, with 37 goals in 109 appearances for the national team. Torres will score in this match.
6. Xabi Alonso strikes again
Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has 16 goals in 112 assists for Spain, and he will also record a goal and an assist in this match.
7. No goals or assists for Andres Iniesta
Despite 11 goals in 99 appearances, Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta will be one of the few players the Socceroos figure out. There will no goals or assists for Iniesta in this match.
8. Heeeeeeeeere’s Koke!
One of the young faces on this Spanish national team is Atletico Madrid’s Koke, who has just nine caps under his belt. Koke will score late against the Socceroos, who will be thoroughly outclassed this match.
9. At least 40 fouls and five cards
Hey, it’s the last game of the tournament for both these teams, why not make this as chippy as possible? At least 40 fouls will be whistled and at least five cards will be issued, perhaps with a red thrown in for good measure.
10. Spain bows out gracefully
It’s been a tough FIFA World Cup for Spain here in Brazil, but the good news for them is that they have a great punching bag in the form of the Socceroos and it will be a rout. If only Spain played like this against the Netherlands and, dare I say it, Chile…
Spain 5, Australia 0