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Soccer-Perky Australians seek to complete Spanish misery

Reuters

By Keith Weir

CURITIBA, Brazil, June 21 (Reuters) - Only pride is at stake when deposed champions Spain meet Australia in the World Cup on Monday but the Australians want to inflict more pain on their demoralised rivals before they head home.

Both teams have no points and have been eliminated but the mood in the two camps is very different, reflecting their contrasting expectations coming to the tournament.

Spain cannot wait to leave Brazil behind after the European and world champions were humbled in a 5-1 thrashing by the Dutch and a 2-0 loss to Chile.

The Australians want to show that their spirited display in a 3-2 defeat by the Dutch was not just a flash in the pan.

"We might look back and be happy with parts of the performance, but it's a results business and we didn't get the result we wanted," defender Alex Wilkinson said.

"Now we're going to go out and take the game to Spain, just like we took it to the Netherlands," he added.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has said there will be consequences from their World Cup flop and has refused to be drawn on his own future while there is still a game to be played.

The Spanish soccer federation wants him to remain in the job despite the team's collapse in Brazil.

Once the World Cup is over, Spain are likely to call time on veterans including captain Iker Casillas who has had a miserable two games in goal.

Del Bosque must decide whether he allows players like Casillas and other members of the old guard including midfielder Xavi, dropped against Chile, to make what could be a farewell World Cup appearance against Australia.

Spain's record goal-scorer David Villa could start up front in place of the disappointing Diego Costa.

Villa is heading for new MLS team New York City via a temporary stint in the Australian A-League with Melbourne City.

Australia will have to do without their talisman Tim Cahill, scorer of a superb volley against the Dutch.

Cahill, 34, picked up a second yellow card of the tournament later in the game and is suspended.

(Writing by Keith Weir, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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