Spain to field strongest side against Socceroos: World Cup 2014


Desperate to avoid the worst World Cup defence in history, Spain have vowed to field their strongest side against a Socceroos outfit hit with injury and suspension.

Australia will be without banned striker Tim Cahill and veteran Mark Bresciano, who is battling a hip-flexor complaint, when they line up against the world champions in their final World Cup game in Curitiba on Tuesday.

With almost 150 caps between them, the Socceroos' two most experienced players will be missed.

Injured midfielder Mark Milligan (hamstring) is also likely to be ruled out.

However, coach Ange Postecoglou confirmed goalkeeper Mat Ryan would start against the world No 1 side, saying he had no intention of dropping him after his blunder resulted in the final goal of Australia's 3-2 loss to Holland.

"Timmy's out and at this stage it's doubtful that Bresc or Milligan will get up," Postecoglou said on Sunday.

Spain have become the first defending champions to be ruled out of contention after two games.

A third straight loss on Tuesday will see them also become the first defending champions to exit the tournament without securing a point.

Koke is expected to play against Australia, after he replaced Xabi Alonso in the Chile game.

"We're going to put together the best line-up for that game," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.

"All my players are potential starters without a doubt. We'll try to put together the best team."

Striker Fernando Torres, who has been a key part of Spain's dominance in recent years, said the players did not want to go home winless.

"We didn't show our strengths in the first two games and now we have the chance against Australia," he said.

"We're expecting a real tough game. It's our last chance to win a game at this World Cup and to go back to Spain with three points and show everyone we have a lot of football for the future."

Matt McKay is likely to retain his spot alongside skipper Mile Jedinak in the holding midfield role, in place of Milligan, who missed the Socceroos' last game.

But Postecoglou hinted there might be a shuffle in the front third. He may opt to start Adam Taggart in place of Cahill or move Mathew Leckie to the point of attack and start Ben Halloran on the right wing instead.

Oliver Bozanic looks set to fill Bresciano's playmaker role. - AAP


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