Jara primed for tough Spain test

Hampshire Chronicle: Gonzalo Jara and Chile got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start Gonzalo Jara and Chile got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start

Defender Gonzalo Jara expects Chile to have to withstand a Spanish backlash to maintain their positive start in the World Cup.

Chile justified some of their upbeat pre-tournament billing with a 3-1 win over Australia in their opening Group B match in Cuiaba.

The result increased their hopes of making progress but their next challenge could be altogether more formidable as they take on shell-shocked world champions Spain in Rio de Janeiro.

Spain were thrashed 5-1 by Holland in their first game, a result which reverberated around the world, and Jara expects to meet them in determined mood at the Maracana on Wednesday.

The Nottingham Forest player told FIFA.com: "They need to win their next game.

"At the last World Cup Spain lost against Switzerland in their opening game, now it's the same. It's really difficult to face Spain.

"But we've played many friendlies against them. We know their tactics, we know their football."

Chile looked highly impressive as they swept into a 2-0 lead against the Socceroos with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia inside 15 minutes.

Australia, the outsiders in a difficult group, looked out of their depth as La Roja cut them open seemingly at will, but they then settled and showed some fighting spirit.

Veteran midfielder Tim Cahill was their inspiration, and the former Everton man brought them back into the game with a trademark header after 34 minutes.

Cahill later had a second header disallowed for offside and Mark Bresciano went close to an equaliser with a powerful shot that fully extended Claudio Bravo.

Eduardo Vargas had an effort cleared off the line but Chile were holding on before Wigan's Jean Beausejour netted their third in injury time.

Jara, 28, said: "We can play much better. In the second half it was really, really hard after you've been playing in 30 degrees.

"They have a really good team. They play with wingers, they put every single ball into the box and they have a really good player in Tim Cahill."

Australia captain Mile Jedinak felt his side were unlucky not to get anything out of the game.

The Crystal Palace midfielder said: "We had a right go but those first 20 minutes ended up costing us.

"We were on top of them, we were so dominant.

"For a lot of the boys, including myself, it's our first World Cup. We were a bit starstruck in the first 20 minutes as there's some great players that play for Chile, and I think we gave them a bit too much respect.

"But as the game grew on and we got a goal back, that was when we really started to press.

"We started to believe in ourselves and then our strengths came out.

"I think the Chileans became a bit wary and of us when they were under (pressure), and they only got the third goal because we were trying to push and push."

Jedinak believes Australia can take momentum and confidence into their next game against Holland in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.

He said: "I don't think it will be too difficult getting those boys up as they showed real character."

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