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World Cup 2014 : Chile's Sampaoli expects to face a new Australia

Reuters  Cuiaba, June 13, 2014
First Published: 14:58 IST(13/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:39 IST(13/6/2014)

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli believes Australia have changed their game under coach Ange Postecoglou by trying to play more football and rely less on their traditional physical strength.

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Chile meet the Socceroos in their opening World Cup Group B match on Friday looking for a win that would set them up for their tough matches with holders Spain and the Netherlands.

Watch: Chile coach wary of Australia threat

"It seems to me (Postecoglou) has wanted to play in another way, which means a great evolution for Australian football," Sampaoli told a news conference at the Pantanal arena.

"More than physical, I imagine a footballing duel," the Argentine added when he was asked how his side would look to counter Australia at the stadium.

"Australia are going to try to rob us (of the ball) and go out quickly (from defence to attack). Our mobility is going to be important, we've worked in different ways to be able to neutralise any plan from our opponents.

"For us this is a final, the most transcendental match we have today, so to have your people (supporters) accompanying you gives you a plus, that's very important for any player," said Sampaoli.

Hundreds of Chile fans have come to Cuiaba, in the centre of South America in Mato Grosso state, many driving the thousands of km from their country across deserts and mountains in Bolivia and Argentina to get here.

"Australia are a complicated team, they come here without pressure," added Sampaoli. "I'm sure they won't feel any in this opening match," he added of the lowest ranked side among the 32 finalists at the tournament in Brazil that began on Thursday.

"It could get difficult for us if we don't have a good afternoon."

Sampaoli did not say whether key midfielder Arturo Vidal, who had knee surgery 36 days ago, would play any part in the match despite a remarkably quick recovery and the fact the he played 15 minutes in a warmup friendly last week.

"The clinical and treatment stages are past and he is ready for normal training (but) in the footballing stage he may not yet have the rhythm of the rest (of the players)," Sampaoli said.

"It's a shared decision among us all but only the player will know if his knee can withstand the weight of this competition, which has a higher grade of demands, and (if he can) put his state (of health) at risk to play for his country."


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