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World Cup Preview: Group B

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I preview Group B of the 2014 Fifa World Cup. Group B contains Spain, The Netherlands, Chile and Australia.

Alexandre Loureiro

One of the strongest groups this summer, reigning champions Spain and previous runners-up Holland are favorites to go through however Chile are dubbed the dark horses and could have something to say about who is in the last 16.

Spain- The reigning Champions will look to avoid the hosts in the last 16 which will require topping the group and nothing less. “La Furia” have been the pinnacle of international football for quite some time now. Having won the last World Cup and Euro’s respectively, Spain will want back to back World Cup’s and will require goals to get it. European Star Man Diego Costa opted for Spain over Brazil recently and will add much needed fire power to Spain’s frontline with the misfiring Fernando Torres and aging David Villa not being sufficient for a serious challenge. Vincente Del Bosque’s side will again adopt the “Tiki-Taka” football and look to pass their opponents off the park. Their opening game sees a repeat of last year’s final against Holland and a potentially difficult tie against Chile could see some hiccups in Spain’s World Cup.

Key Player- David Silva, the Man City man has excelled for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season. Silva has a special sort of class when the ball is at his feet feeding killer through balls behind the defence as well as delivering inch perfect crosses. The Spaniard can also pop up with a goal or two, certainly a key man in a very strong Spanish midfield.

Prediction-1st- Runner Up

Netherlands- Runners up in South Africa 4 years ago, Louis Van Gaal has reverted his Dutch side back to the infamous “Total Football” of their Domestic league.  He has experimented in several formations to adapt to the styles of play of Chile and Spain but faces some problems, Kevin Strootman is out with injury and with a squad filled with youngsters it could be a difficult group for the Dutch.

Key Player- Arjen Robben, The Bayern Munich wide man has had another prolific season in Bavaria, claiming another Bundesliga and a DFP-Pokal under Pep Guardiola. The former Chelsea man has a lot of pace and a dangerous left foot if allowed to come inside onto it like he so often does. If the miss-firing Robin Van Persie is to shine in Rio, it will be up to Robben to provide the support for him.

Prediction- 2nd-Last 16

Chile- A potential hiccup for the big two in group B. They have been dubbed the Dark horses for the group and indeed the tournament after their domination of England and Germany several weeks ago. Their high pressing game adopted by manager Jorge Sampaoli is expected to produce a few surprises for the Tournament ahead. Names such as Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel, Alexis Sanchez and our very own Jean Beausejour all being worth a watch.

Key Player- Alexis Sanchez, the winger has been in blistering form for the Catalans lately and will certainly provide some upsets this summer. Sanchez’s pace often proves too much for opposition’s defences as it did for England when Chile completely outplayed Roy Hodgson’s side at Wembley recently.

Prediction- 3rd

Australia-Being the lowest ranked team in the competition, fortune hasn’t been good to the Australians giving them one of the toughest groups. Greek Coach Ange Postecoglu has said he’s using the World Cup for preparation for the 2015 Asian Cup selecting a very young squad. Tim Cahill is the only surviving member from The Socceroos’ Old Guard whilst Crystal Palace’s engine room Mile Jedinak also made the cut. There is not much to be said about Australia but the World Cup does always provide some upsets?

Key Player- Tim Cahill, the former Everton man still has some fight left in him, he enjoyed a fruitful career in his 8 year tenure at Goodison Park and will hope to bring a little bit of joy to those optimistic Australian fans awho have made the trip to Rio this summer.

Prediction- 4th