CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — The Maracana is not filled with many fond memories for Spain, whose World Cup title is on the line at the iconic football stadium.
Spain returns to the Maracana for Wednesday's must-win match against Chile nearly one year after a 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final.
Spain's 5-1 loss to the Netherlands to open Group B was its heaviest competitive defeat since a 6-1 defeat to Brazil at the famed stadium in Rio de Janeiro at the 1950 World Cup.
Spain isn't letting its poor history at one of the sport's most storied settings become a distraction, however, as it looks to reverse its poor start.
"The Maracana is mythical, but the only wish is for the result to be completely different from last year's Confederations Cup final and we can win," Spain midfielder Juan Mata said.
Spain can take heart from two victories at the Maracana during the 1950 World Cup, 1-0 against England and 2-0 against Chile.
Spain now needs to repeat that win over Chile, but preferably with an even bigger scoreline to make up for its poor goal differential.
"It's a stadium with so much history, and we've played there already. It's an important place and hopefully that can work in our favor," said forward Pedro Rodriguez, who many expect to replace David Silva in the starting lineup on Wednesday. "What's clear is that we cannot afford to fail."
Spain will also have to deal with another change in temperature as it goes from the cool, winter weather of its training base in Curitiba to the warmer, muggier confines of Rio de Janeiro. The team tired in the humidity of Salvador against the Dutch.
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