World Cup 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014 at 20:00 GMT
Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Spain vs. Netherlands Preview
This has probably not happened at any previous World Cup – the finalists from the previous World Cup will meet each other in their first match at the first following championship. In this case, tomorrow’s game between Spain and Netherlands will enter history of the world championships as first such case. Finals in South Africa ended in a tie in the regular part of the game, and Spain won the trophy thanks to better penalty shootouts. Their first match at the World Cup in Brazil will probably not look like much as the aforementioned finale, because neither of these two teams is at the same level of form as in that match.
Spain came to Brazil as a top-ranked national team, which they have earned by winning a World Cup and two European Championships. However, in addition, Spain is not the major favorite at this championship, not only because there are other strong teams, but also for players that Del Bosque has brought in Brazil. The attack is the biggest mystery of the Spanish team given that Diego Costa finished the season injured, while Torres had a bad season, and even David Villa cannot boast that his season was much more successful. Raul sarcastically remarked the choice of Del Bosque saying that Spain will probably play in a 4-6-0 formation. Besides, Spain played only two friendly games before coming to Brazil, against poor teams of Bolivia and San Salvador, winning each of them with the same result, 2-0. Of course, Del Bosque may find justification in the fact that the Spanish players had a long season with their clubs, but critics also have the argument for roll call.
Probable line-up of Spain (4-2-3-1): Casillas – Azpilicueta, Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba – Busquets, Xabi Alonso – Pedro, Silva, Iniesta – Diego Costa
The Netherlands has a huge motivation in this match, but if the Oranje’s players enter the game with a lot of emotion, the result will eventually be negative. However, the national team of the Netherlands is composed of great professionals, who play in the best clubs of Europe, just like players of Spain. They have achieved a great success in qualifying for this World Cup, but the friendly matches played between the qualifying and the World Cup has cast a shadow on this success and caused anxiety by Dutch fans. However, we are already accustomed to the fact that the Netherlands has great performances at the World Cup, so it will not be surprise if it happens here as well.
Probable line-up of Netherlands (4-2-3-1): Cillessen – Janmaat, de Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi – de Jong, Blind – Robben, Fer, Sneijder – van Persie
Spain has attack of doubtful capabilities, but the middle line is the best in Europe, and we should not forget the great goalkeeper and defense with Ramos and Pique. On the other hand, the attack of the Netherlands looks impressive and intimidating for any opponent, and despite expectations that this will be a game without goals, I expect at least 2 or 3 goals. The Netherlands is underrated, but I believe they are able to “surprise”, and at least to score the first goal in this game. Team To Score First – Netherlands.