World Cup Group B Preview
By Grant Becker
Preview: Headlined by a rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final, Group B is arguably the most difficult group in the competition. European superpowers Spain and their 2010 runners-up from the Netherlands will open the group on the second day of competition. South American sleeper Chile is looking to make a statement at the World Cup with a big win over one of the European giants. Australia have their hands full with these three talent laden teams who all threaten to make a run for the cup. No matter how this group shakes out, there is sure to be drama.
Key Game: As exciting as the opening match between Spain and the Netherlands will be, both teams will have time to recover no matter the result. The last of this group’s games will be between Holland and Chile, setting the stage for a down to the wire group decision. The fate of the group rests on the result of this game, making it a must watch.
Group X-Factor: Spain boast the most experienced roster at the World Cup, with 16 players from the 2010 gold medal team returning. But first timer Diego Costa made a controversial decision to play for Spain rather than his birthplace of Brazil. His early season form sparked a meteoric rise to fame. The soon-to-be-Chelsea man could be the man who’s goals re-ignite a golden Spanish squad. Spain have lacked a pure striker since Fernando Torres began his descent at Chelsea. If La Roja want to make it out of this group, it will take goals from their new striker.
Prediction: Spain 7, Netherlands 5, Chile 4, Australia 0. Spain open group play with a safe possession clinic against Holland resulting in a draw. Chile can’t find a way through Spain and fall after they are held scoreless, setting up a win or go home match against the Netherlands on the last day. In a back and forth match that could go either way, it won’t go anybody’s way, favoring the Netherlands and putting them through with just one win, but no losses.