Saturday, June 7, 2014

World Cup Group Predictions: Group B

First Team To Advance: Spain
Second Team To Advance: Netherlands
Teams Heading Home: Chile, Australia

Similarly to Group A (with Brazil), predicting the winner of Group B seems fairly simple, as nearly everybody sees Spain topping the group. Simply put, no team in this group has the defensive fortitude or skill to contain Spain's Tiki-Taka attack, and now that they have Diego Costa to put the ball in the bag of the net, they should breeze through this group. It was only four years ago that the Netherlands found themselves in the World Cup finals where they matched Spain evenly for a full 116 minutes until Andres Iniesta broke through with the winning goal, but they have been on the decline ever since. Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben are both on the wrong side of thirty, and, though they are still forces to be reckoned with, they don't pose quite the same threat that they did four years ago. In the midfield, Wesley Sneijder is still one of the top midfield maestros in the world, but the depth behind him is not strong. Meanwhile, in the back, the Netherlands are incredibly weak, as evidenced by their five-at-the-back formation, which can help sort out some defensive problems, but really inhibits them going forward. Chile actually look fairly similar to the Netherlands, but they are not quite as experienced up front. They have a young and fairly explosive duo of Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez at the striker positions and they have one of the best young midfield generals in the world, Arturo Vidal, but their problems at the back will likely stop them from advancing out of the group. As for Australia, Tim Cahill is a strong striker, especially in the air, and Mile Jedinak is a solid ball-winning midfielder, but they will need much more than just those two if they wish to even gain a point in this tough group. My prediction for the top scorer in the group is Robin Van Persie, while I expect Spain's Andres Iniesta to lead the group in assists, although other Spain midfielders such as David Silva and Xavi will certainly be in the running too.

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