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Reading El País digital I find an article entitled

España se la juega el último día del año con el AVE a La Meca

Looking in the dictionary of the language I find many meaning for jugar but none which seems to resolve my doubts about the headline. The best option is a verbal phrase at the end

jugársela, o jugárselas a alguien
1. locs. verbs. Comportarse con él mal o de modo desleal.

The main theme of the article is that the programme of work is not going very well if that helps to answer my question without having to read the whole article.

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The link you provided also shows a meaning that is adequate for this case:

  1. prnl. Arriesgar, aventurar. Jugarse la vida, la carrera.

So that means, Spain is venturing into a project that could be risky due to different factors.

So, the connotation here it's not negative itself, as the other meaning you referenced (Comportarse con él mal o de modo desleal).

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    This is the DLE's fault, really: jugársela has both meanings, but only one is referenced. It should explain that #22 admits an implicit direct object. – pablodf76 Dec 28 '17 at 15:20

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