On Tuesday, we previewed Group A of World Cup 2014. Today, we are breaking down one of the toughest groups in the whole tournament. This group includes the team that has dominated International competition recently, Spain. It also has the 2010 runner-ups Netherlands, and one of the biggest darkhorse sleepers in the bracket, Chile. We hope you enjoy our next preview of World Cup 2014!

 

spain-state Spain

Can’t Miss Talent

Andres Iniesta– I was tempted to type in “whole team” but opted for the hero from the 2010 final, FC Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta. Simply put, there is no better midfielder in the world then Iniesta. There is no safer place for the ball then at the feet of this Spaniard. Iniesta is the point guard of the team, and just like players like Steve Nash and Chris Paul, he makes everyone else around him better.

Rising Star

Koke- As you would expect, the future is extremely bright for the Spainish squad, and Koke is one of the biggest reasons. The Althetico Madrid midfielder has scored 13 goals with the team in his time there, none more important than a goal last month in a tie with FC Barcelona that helped his team to the upcoming Champions League final. Koke will provide a youthful energy if Spaid is in need of speed and a comeback.

The Key for the Spaniards

The times of Spain falling woefully short on the biggest stages are history. Spaid has dominated international football for the last half decade, winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012. Having said all that, Spain has a tough draw here. Not only do they have two worthy opponents in the Netherlands and Chile, but they could face a potential second round matchup with host nation Brazil if the group stages fall a certain way. Simply put, they must take care of business to have the easiest path to the quarterfinals.

How Far Can They Go

When you are Spain, you expect championships. So simply put, anything short of back-to-back titles will be disappointing for the European power house. And you wouldn’t count this team out. They have more big game experience than any nation, and that becomes paramount in the latter stages of the tournament. Anything short of the semi-finals for this team would be shocking.

netherlands Netherlands

Can’t Miss Talent

Arjen Robben– Robben willed his team to a surprising finals run in 2010, and the Bayern Munich legend will likely be playing his final World Cup, or at least the last of his prime. The midfielder has the best left foot in the world, and makes his bread by simply making something out of nothing. If the Dutch need a magical moment to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, they will be looking to their leader.

Arjen-Robben-World-Cup-2014

Rising Star

Kevin Strootman– The 22-year old Roma midfielder will be looking to compliment Robben in the middle to provide spacing for the forwards in front. Strootman will have every chance to get passes into the playmakers Robben and Van Persie, and could provide a scoring threat, having netted five goals for Roma last season.

The Key for the Dutchmen

The Netherlands have the rare chance of immediate revenge, facing off against Spain in the first game of the group stage. A point here would be vital, as Chile figures to get three vs Australia. Assuming they handle their business against Australia, the Dutch will have everything to play for on June 23rd against Chile, a game that will likely decide a round of 16 spot. While the teams are even on paper, Netherlands has the huge edge in big stage experience, which could prove vital in the closing minutes.

How Far Can They Go

The Dutch have all the makings of a team that can make a repeat run to the finals. However, the potential schedule does not play in their favor. They open against the defending champions, and have another tough matchup vs Chile, all for the right to likely play host national Brazil. The Dutch knocked off the Brazilians four years ago, so they are capable of winning that game, but reaching the semi-finals should be considered an accomplishment for this squad.

download Chile

Can’t Miss Talent

Alexis Sanchez– Sanchez has enjoyed a career year at FC Barcelona, notching career highs in goals (20), assists (15), and appearances (52). The 25-year-old striker is the unquestioned star of this team, and they will simply go as far as he can take them. Sanchez has created some of the best goals of the league season, and he will show the world exactly what he can do next month.

Rising Star

Eduardo Vargas– If Sanchez is every bit as potent as expected ,then Eduardo Vargas should have plenty of space to navigate through as his striker counter part draws double teams. Vargas was loaned out to Valencia this season, and has scored 11 goals in International play.

The Key for the Chileans

Chile will be looking to go into every game and simply outscore their opponents. They will throw numbers forward in hopes of piling up the goals, as Sanchez and Vargas are their top players. Their downfall could be defensive lapses late in big games, but if they are able to hold up, Chile could be every bit the sleeper many think they will be.

Soccer - International Friendly - England v Chile - Wembley Stadium

How Far Can They Go

In the minds of the fans of Chile, they are fully expecting to get out of the group stage. At #13, they are two spots ahead of the Netherlands, making them the odds on favorite to move on. In case you missed it the first four times I mentioned it, they will likely fall to Brazil in the second round. But with their scoring ability, they very well could pull off a huge 2nd round upset.

australia, flag Australia

Can’t Miss Talent

Tim Cahill- Cahill is the all-time leading scorer for Australia, and this World Cup will be the swan song for the 34-year-old forward. Cahill now plays in the USA for the New York Red Bulls. Cahill scored 12 goals this past season with the club, and he is the unquestioned leader of Socceroos.

Rising Star

Tom Rogic- There isn’t much in the way of budding young talent for this team, but Tom Rogic is one who will make some noise down the road. He’s 22 years old, and made 11 appearances for Celtic last season. While he has yet to score on the International level, he will be seeing plenty of the field in Brazil this summer.

The Key for the Australians

Australia will clearly need the element of surprise if they want to make any kind of noise in this group. Unfortunately, they are playing three of the top 15 squads in the world, so it doesn’t look too good for them. If there is any kind of good news for Australia, they do avoid Brazil until the final game of the group stage.

How Far Can They Go

We won’t spend much time here. It would be a USA over Russia 1980 Hockey-like upset if the Socceroos make it out of this brutal group. Don’t count on much coming from these men down under.

Final Group Prediction

1. Spain

2. Chile

3. Netherlands

4. Australia

Ultimately, we see Chile rising up and beating out the Netherlands, whether that be in their individual game, or just in the group stage overall. Alexis Sanchez could very well be the MVP of the group, and they will give Brazil all they can handle in the next round.