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06.06.2014 » World Cup Group B preview: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

FIFA World Cup 2014 Group B wallpaper

Group B is consensually one of the toughest groups in this World Cup. Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia will be fighting for the 2 top spots of the group in the upcoming weeks and even though it looks like this will be a 3-team race, it will be interesting to see how the reigning champions Spain will handle the pressure of defending the title they've won in South Africa, back in 2010.

In a group where it seems extremely easy to identify the top 3 contenders to go through into the next stage (Spain, Netherlands and Chile), Australia may very well have to settle with a secondary role. Vicente del Bosque brought to Brazil one of the strongest Spanish squads ever formed, but in order to have any chances of extending their recent success saga obtained in the EURO 2008, the World Cup 2010 and the EURO 2012, they'll have to impose their game against several well organized teams. Nevertheless, we'll go with a quite obvious projection for this group, as we're picking Spain and the Netherlands for the favorites to go into the last-16 knock-out stages.

FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia:

Spain

They arrive to Brazil as the reigning champions and still holding the number 1 spot in the FIFA World Rankings table. Their passing game style that was emulated in great part from FC Barcelona golden years, has delivered them much success since 2008. However, they now have a golden chance to become the first National Team to have ever won back-to-back World Cups since Brazil pulled it off back in 1958 and 1962...

Despite having won the last 3 major tournaments since 2008, Spain comes to Brazil only listed as the 4th strongest favorite to lift the trophy in July 13. Bookmakers' experts and analysts are placing Spain behind Germany, Argentina and Brazil in what the World Cup title race concerns, and are therefore offering a payout factor of 7.50€ for those who decide to invest their money on the Spanish National Team becoming World Champions once again.

If we look at the current Spanish squad and compare it to the previous teams that won two European Championships (2008, 2012) and one World Cup (2010), we immediately feel tempted to say that they appear to be much stronger now. Their midfield is second to none in the whole World and this year they're are even going to be able to count with Atletico Madrid's prolific striker Diego Costa, who is said to be extremely close of signing for Chelsea right after the tournament is over. Make no mistakes, Spain are undoubtedly one of the top dogs in this World Cup.

Spain National Team coach:
Vicente del Bosque

Spain 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, David de Gea
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Ramos, Javi Martinez, Raul Albiol, Juanfran Torres
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Koke Resurreccion, David Silva, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez, Diego Costa, David Villa, Fernando Torres

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Spain XI: Casillas; Jordi Alba, Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Juanfran; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Silva; Diego Costa, Fernando Torres.

Spain - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Spain vs Netherlands
-> June 18: Spain vs Chile
-> June 23: Australia vs Spain

Spain lifting the World Cup trophy in 2010

 

Netherlands

The Netherlands National Team had an easy ride in their European qualification stage over the past months, as they topped their group with 9 wins and 1 draw. This will be their 10th World Cup presence and they'll be looking to end a curse that has made them the only team to have achieved a World Cup final in at least 3 different occasions (1974, 1978, 2010), having always lost it. The last time that happened was precisely 4 years ago against Spain, in a final held in South Africa.

The Dutch are known for their very attacking-minded style of play and they'll most likely try to honor that tradition in Brazil. With players like Wesley Sneijder, Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben and Manchester United's Robin van Persie in their ranks, this Holland team must be regarded as a serious threat on any game they step onto the pitch. An interesting note is that their manager Louis Van Gaal has already been announced as the new Manchester United coach for next season. However, the experienced tactician will obviously stay behind the Dutch Team throughout their entire World Cup campaign despite the many natural concerns that his mind might be elsewhere during the tournament.

They are currently ranked in the 15th spot at the FIFA World Rankings and bookies seem to be reflecting that, as they are paying a 34 payoff factor for the Netherlands to win the World Cup.

Netherlands National Team coach:
Louis Van Gaal

Netherlands 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen, Tim Krul, Michel Vorm
Defenders: Daley Blind, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi, Joel Veltman, Paul Verhaegh, Ron Vlaar, Stefan de Vrij
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie, Leroy Fer, Jonathan De Guzman, Nigel de Jong, Wesley Sneijder, Georginio Wijnaldum
Forwards: Memphis Depay, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Dirk Kuyt, Jeremain Lens, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Netherlands XI: Krul; Blind, Vlaar, Verhaegh, Vrij; Nigel de Jong, De Guzman, Sneijder; Robben, Kuyt, Robin van Persie.

Netherlands - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Spain vs Netherlands
-> June 18: Australia vs Netherlands
-> June 23: Netherlands vs Chile

Netherlands National Team players ready for the World Cup 2014

 

Chile

Chile got qualified for the World Cup after finishing 3rd in the CONMEBOL group stage and only falling behind Argentina and Colombia. They are ranked 14th at the FIFA World Rankings standings and their odds for winning the World Cup are currently set on a 41 times factor.

Just like most South American teams, one of the main strengths of this Chilean National Team will be their intensity and their aggressiveness stance when defending. They won't have an easy to task to make the cut for the next stage of the tournament though, as they'll probably need to win against either Spain or the Netherlands, as well as take the mandatory 3 points from the opening game they'll play against Australia.

Their main stars are the experienced midfielder from Juventus, Arturo Vidal, but also the very dynamic Alexis Sánchez from FC Barcelona. Sánchez arrives to this World Cup highly motivated (even though he didn't win any title for his club), as he just completed his best season ever since he got transferred to Spain.

Chile National Team coach:
Jorge Sampaoli

Chile 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Johnny Herrera, Cristopher Toselli
Defenders: Gary Medel, Jose Rojas, Eugenio Mena, Gonzalo Jara
Midfielders: Arturo Vidal, Mauricio Isla, Marcelo Diaz, Francisco Silva, Felipe Gutierrez, Jose Pedro Fuenzalida, Carlos Carmona, Jean Beausejour, Charles Aranguiz, Miiko Albornoz
Forwards: Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas, Jorge Valdivia, Mauricio Pinilla, Esteban Paredes, Fabian Orellana

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Chile XI: Bravo; Medel, Rojas, Mena, Jara; Isla, Arturo Vidal, Gutierrez, Valdivia; Alexis Sanchez, Vargas.

Chile - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Chile vs Australia
-> June 18: Spain vs Chile
-> June 23: Netherlands vs Chile

The Chile National Team players piling after scoring a goal

 

Australia

The Australian National Team is probably one of the weakest sides in this World Cup. They qualified after finishing 2nd on a qualifying group that was won by Japan and this will be only the 4th time they'll participate on a World Cup tournament. Currently ranked in the 62nd position in the FIFA World Rankings standings, Australia has one of the highest payoffs for becoming World champions this summer, with sports bookies offering 500€ for every euro invested on that very remote possibility of seeing the "Kangaroos" lifting the trophy next July.

In a team packed with plenty unknown players, Australia's key player will most likely be the experienced Tim Cahill, who has played for Everton between 2004 and 2012 but is currently already representing the New York Red Bulls in the MLS. With the sort of group Australia was drawn into, only a miracle will allow them to pull off a surprise and become one of the two teams who will finish on the top half of the table. That being said and as harsh as it may sound to Australian fans, having qualified to Brazil is probably the best reward Australia will get from this World Cup adventure.

Australia National Team coach:
Ange Postecoglou

Australia 23-men squad list for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Mitchell Langerak, Eugene Galekovic
Defenders: Ivan Franjic, Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Bailey Wright, Alex Wilkinson, Ryan McGowan
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak, Mark Milligan, James Holland, Massimo Luongo, Oliver Bozanic, Matt McKay, Mark Bresciano
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Dario Vidosic, Tommy Oar, James Troisi, Ben Halloran, Adam Taggart, Mathew Leckie

Probable line-up/starting eleven for the World Cup:
Australia XI: Ryan; Davidson, McGowan, Spiranovic, Franjic; Jedinak, Milligan; Oar, Bresciano, Halloran; Cahill.

Australia - World Cup group matches:
-> June 13: Chile vs Australia
-> June 18: Australia vs Netherlands
-> June 23: Australia vs Spain

Australia players celebrating the World Cup qualification

Cristiano Ronaldo upcoming game will be a friendly between Portugal and Mexico, scheduled for June 6 of 2014, in Boston. You can watch Juventus live stream, Mexico vs Portugal, Spain vs El Salvador, England vs Honduras, and Argentina vs Slovenia, all matches provided from our football live pages.

Portugal next game:
Mexico vs Portugal
kick-off time (06-06-2014):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 07:30
Spain
(Madrid) | GMT+2: 02:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+1: 01:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-3: 21:30
New York (United States) | GMT-4: 20:30
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-7 17:30
Beijing (China) | GMT+8: 08:30

Sources: ronaldo7.net / foxsports.com / fifa.com

Spain home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Spain jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Netherlands home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:Netherlands jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Chile home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Chile jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

Australia home and away shirts for the FIFA World Cup 2014:
Australia jerseys kits in the World Cup 2014

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