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Spain coach making changes

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque promised on Tuesday to change his lineup for the team’s must-win Group B match in Rio de Janeiro against Chile as the World Cup holders look to stay in the tournament.

Forwards Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas are widely seen as the most likely candidates to start today after the 5-1 thrashing by the Netherlands in their opening match, though Del Bosque was not giving away any names.

“There will be changes, but few,” Del Bosque said at the Maracana stadium.

While Pedro would probably replace David Silva, Fabregas could slot in for Diego Costa if Del Bosque decides to leave the physical striker on the bench in place of a ‘false striker’ attack.

Defensive player Javi Martinez is meanwhile a candidate to slot in for Gerard Pique, while fullbacks Cesar Azpilicueta and Jordi Alba are under scrutiny.

Spain was looking forward to the match finally getting underway after four long days since Friday’s humiliating defeat by the Netherlands, the losing finalists in 2010.

“Anxiousness can also allow you to play better. The worst thing would be indifference. It’s good to be a little anxious, but always in measured doses,” Del Bosque said.

Corner kicks

FIFA has officially timed Clint Dempsey’s goal at 30 seconds into the United States’ 2-1 win over Ghana. Dempsey became the fifth fastest scorer in World Cup history on Monday. … Portugal left back Fabio Coentrao has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a muscle strain. The Real Madrid defender strained his right abductor muscle during a 4-0 loss to Germany on Monday, when he was forced to leave the field in the 65th minute. Portugal, which plays the United States on Saturday, and will also be without suspended defender Pepe. … Samuel Eto’o has traveled to the Amazon with Cameroon’s World Cup squad for its crucial game against Croatia today despite posting on Twitter that he probably won’t play because of a knee injury. … German defender Mats Hummels , who scored in the opening win, is unlikely to play in Saturday’s Group G match against Ghana in Fortaleza because of heavily bruised right thigh. … Australia coach Ange Postecoglou says it would be pointless trying to contain the Netherlands and hit back on the counter in their World Cup Group B match today. He says, “If we just try and defend for 90 minutes there will be only one result – and it won’t be in our favor.” Australia is coming off a 3-1 loss to Chile, but Postecolglou says it’s unlikely the Socceroos will be overawed by the Dutch.


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