By: Cindy Scott
Chile, the surprising Group H leaders, will take on European champion Spain today at 2:30 p.m. EST. Chile only needs a draw to move forward, while Spain seeks a victory to secure advancement.
The historical relationship between both nations provides a compelling dynamic that is reminiscent of the U.S. and England match-up earlier in the tournament. Chile, a former Spanish colony, is out to show the European mother country it’s all grown up (with this morning’s meeting between Brazil and Portugal sharing a similar family drama).
Statistics show this match could go either way. Chile has never beaten Spain. Not once. But Spain has lost eight of their last 12 matches against South American opponents.
Since the outcome is too close to call based on the football alone, we asked ourselves what might happen if this contest were based on other factors…
Battle of the Beaches
Spain’s sun-drenched beaches make it a major tourist destination for millions of visitors each year. In total, the nation boasts just over 3,084 miles of coastline. But Chile, shaped like a long, narrow strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, checks in with nearly 4,000 miles.
Duel of the Drink
Both Spain and Chile are major wine-producing nations. Chile is currently the world’s fifth largest exporter of wine (and South America’s largest), making wine one of the country’s most important non-mineral exports.
Spain, however, has more land covered by vineyards than any other country in the world. That being said, Spain’s arid soil makes the actual yield lower than that statistic might suggest. Spain is only third in world production, behind Italy and France. Still, it churns out more wine than Chile.
Photo: andreasnilsson1976 via Flickr