World Cup: Chile coach wary about Spain despite big win over Aus
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli is taking nothing for granted looking ahead to his team’s clash with holders Spain whose World Cup defence began with a nightmare 5-1 defeat by the Netherlands on Friday.
The Chileans joined the Dutch on three points with a 3-1 victory over Australia in their Group B opener at the Pantanal arena on Friday, just a few hours after the Spanish debacle.
“I don’t think their result is going to be decisive, Spain have a great trainer and many players among the best in the world,” Sampaoli said.
“Spain also lost their first match at the previous World Cup and then they became champions. Today they were leading 1-0 in the first half and then the Dutch equalised,” he told a news conference. “In the end Spain were totally overcome.
“Holland and Spain have a superlative history in World Cups, (they are) the champions and vice-champions, we’ve got to improve to face them.”
Chile face Spain in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday and Sampaoli said their clash with Australia was useful for correcting failings in the team’s tactics.
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Image: Head coach Jorge Sampaoli of Chile reacts
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
'You've got to make the most of the chances'
“We have to have more complete performances to face the strong teams that come next,” he said.
“We exerted good pressure in the first half hour and had our rivals under control. Then our pressure was diluted as we put more men up front and we ended up suffering their counter-attacks.”
A good three quarters of the 40,000 crowd were Chilean fans with Sampaoli saying their support was a great help to the team.
“The setting helped the team a lot to go out looking for goals with conviction from the start.”
Chile's top player Alexis Sanchez scored their first goal and laid on the second for Jorge Valdivia, earning the man of the match award.
“The lovely thing about a World Cup is getting the chance to score and you’ve got to make the most of them,” he said.
“Then the support we gave our teammates was essential to withstand pressure from the Australians in their (second half) fight-back.”
Image: Alexis Sanchez of Chile celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Australia at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, Brazil on Friday
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images