2014 World Cup Match Day Preview: Day 7

Match day 7 will see the 2nd games of countries in group B and of two countries in group A. The marquee match up will be Spain vs. Chile. 

Australia vs. Netherlands

Match Info

The first game of the day will see Group B’s Australia against Netherlands at 1pm local time in Brazil.
The match will be played at Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, which has a capacity of 42,991 people.
These two countries have met in three different occasions before with Australia winning once and the other two games ending in a tie. Surprisingly, Netherlands has never defeated Australia. This should set up a very interesting match for the first game of the day.

Australia lost their opener to Chile by a score of 3-1 but the score line is not really indicative of how well Australia played in that match. They created several chances and the result could have been very different. This is a must win game for Australia, if they are to have any chance of advancing to the round of 16 they will need to get a win, anything else will see them going home after the group stages. Considering the history between these two countries it is not out of the realm of possibility. Having said that let’s not forget that Netherlands is coming from a convincing 5-1 win over the champions Spain. If that display in the opener is a sign of what it is to come, Netherlands will be a force to be dealt with and most likely be able to get their first win ever against Australia. What better place to do it other than the World Cup.

Players to Watch

From Australian side Cahill is the star, captain and the one player that really caries his country on his shoulders. Australia will go as far as Cahill can take them, so I expect another big game from him. Netherlands has so many quality players but I expect Robben to once again be the man of the match. He has the ability to not only run at defenders and make incredible passes to his forwards but also to finish his own plays. He will have another incredible performance.

Spain vs. Chile

Match Info

The second match of the day will be our marquee match and will see the other Group B’s game between Spain & Chile, at 4pm local time in Brazil.
The match will be played at Estadio jornalista Mario Filho in Rio de Janeiro, with a capacity of 74,689 people.
These two countries have played 10 times before, with Spain winning eight times and tying twice. In those 10 match ups Spain has scored 28 goals while Chile has only scored 8 times. There is a clear dominance from Spain in the match ups between these two countries.

This is a must win for Spain. After dropping the opener to Netherlands they need a win to stay in the hunt for one of the two spots on top of the group. Chile has 3 points from their win against Australia and even a draw in this match could be enough for them to be able to advance to the round of 16. Chile will be aware that their win against Australia wasn’t as easy as the score line shows and that Spain is not as bad as their result indicated, so it will be a very defensive minded Chile that will look at breaking Spain down in counter attacks. I expect Spain to change their formation going into this match by dropping Diego Costa and adding Fabregas in more fluid number 9 position. Chile will most likely see the return of Vidal and that should add some fire power and boost to their midfield line. A fit Vidal will be a very important addition and a headache for Spain’s defensive lines.

Players to Watch

Xavi will be critical in this game. He didn’t have a good game against Netherlands, but then again nobody in the Spanish squad did. He will be the key factor for his team in order for them to be able to control the ball but also creates enough offensive situations that will allow them to score. I see Vidal coming into this game and having a huge impact. He was rested for the opener and should be fit to play this important match that could dictate who finishes on top of Group B or who goes home. Vidal is the brain and muscle of this team, and I believe he will be crucial in how they will stop Spain from attacking but also pushing them forward.

Cameroon vs. Croatia

Match Info

Last match of the day will feature Cameroo vs. Croatia from Group A. This game will be played at 7pm local time in Brazil.
This match will be played at Arena Amazonia stadium in Manaus and it has a capacity of 39,118 people.
These two countries have never played each other.

Both teams lost their opening matches so this game is crucial for both countries aspirations of advancing out of the group stages. Croatia played a disappointing first game, but they were missing their forward Mandzukic. He will be back for this game and will be an important factor for his country. Cameroon had a very disappointing first match and lost to a very strong Mexico side. Cameroon doesn’t look strong enough in defense or offense to really pose a threat to Croatia. Rakitic and Modric will have to have a more inspired game against Cameroon and give their side more speed when moving forward, but all things considered Croatia should win this game and setup an incredible match up with Mexico for the last game of the group.

Players to Watch

From the Croatia side Mandzukic will be the player to keep an eye on. He will be returning from suspension and will be looking at having an impact in this game. He is a very prolific goal scorer and with Rakitic and Modric feeding him quality balls he could become a real headache for a very shaky Cameroon side. Samuel Eto’o was invisible in their first match and I am expecting more of the same from him. The key player for Cameroon will be Song. He will have to make his presence in midfield felt in order to be able to stop the fast and quick Croatian midfielders. If he has a bad game the chances of Cameroon winning or getting any points out of this match are slim to none.

Match-day 7 - Staff Picks 

Pedro: Australia 0-3 Netherlands, Spain 1-1 Chile & Croatia 2-1 Cameroon
Kon: Australia 0-3 Netherlands, Spain 2-1 Chile & Croatia 1-0 Cameroon
Iain: Australia 0-2 Netherlands, Spain 0-1 Chile & Croatia 2-0 Cameroon


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