FIFA World Cup 2014 at a Glance: Group B

Group B is perhaps one of the most exciting groups of the World Cup. There are two reasons for that. Firstly it features last year’s finalists Spain and Netherlands and fans will get to see a rematch of last year’s ill-tempered final. Secondly the runner up from this group will face off against the winner from Group A. If no major upsets take place then Brazil should comfortably top Group A. This means that maybe Spain or Netherlands could face the Brazilians in the next round. That would be a final before the final type of game. So let us analyze facts and try to predict who will go through from this group and what the standings will look like after the group stage concludes.

FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group B

Team: Spain

Manager: Vincent Del Bosque

Road to Qualification:

Placed in UEFA’s Group I along with France, Finland, Georgia and Belarus, defending World Champions Spain topped their qualification group with ease. The team remained unbeaten throughout qualification and went on to record six wins and two draws, scoring fourteen goals in the process and conceding just three.

The Game Changers:

  • Xavi Hernandez
  • Andres Iniesta
  • Xabi Alonso
  • Sergio Busquets

All four players form the core of the Spanish midfield engine, with Xavi and Iniesta providing the fluidity to the team going forward and Alonso and Busquets giving them the stability at the defensive half of the park. Any team which needs to beat Spain will have to devise a plan to make this world class midfield ineffective.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 15
Best Finish: Winners 2010

Prediction for the Group: Winner

The defending world champions can still be considered the number one team in the world, even though they lost to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final. I can’t see any team upsetting the champions in their group (maybe Netherlands, if the Dutch play exceptionally well) but it is highly likely that the Spanish juggernaut will go through unbeaten.

Interesting Fact:

Spain is the only national team to win three back to back international titles (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012).

Team: Netherlands

Manager: Louis Van Gaal

Road to Qualification:

Placed in UEFA’s Group D alongside teams like Romania, Hungary and Turkey, the Dutch qualified for the World Cup with ease after an undefeated campaign. They posted nine wins and a draw, scoring thirty four goals in the process and conceded just five.

Game Changers:

Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben has been an integral part of Bayern Munich’s Champion League winning squad and is considered as one of the most dangerous wingers in the game. Since the Dutch missed out on the coveted World Cup in the last edition, Robben’s game has improved leaps and bounds and his Bayern Munich side has made its mark in Europe as one of the greatest soccer teams in history.

Robin Van Persie
The country’s top goal scorer and one of the most talented strikers in the game, Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie will spearhead the Dutch attack. If he can recreate the form that helped Man United win the Premier League last year, then opponents need to be worried. The Dutch midfield has the quality to open the defense of any team in the world, and with Van Persie waiting at the end of those incisive passes, it will become very difficult for teams to stop the Netherlands from scoring.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 9
Best Finish: Runners Up 1974, 1978, 2010

Prediction for the Group: Runner Up

While World Champions Spain are favorites to finish at the top of their group, the Dutch side has the potential to overcome them, given they play exceptionally well. I don’t see Chile or Australia upsetting the Dutch and they should quite comfortably qualify from their group.

Interesting Fact:

The Netherlands soccer team holds the unfortunate record of making it to the World Cup finals the most times without winning it.

Team: Chile

Manager: Jorge Sampaoli

Road to Qualification:

The Chileans came third in CONMEBOL behind Argentina and Columbia. They had a tumultuous qualifying campaign which saw them win nine games, draw one and lose six. Chileans scored twenty nine goals in the process and conceded twenty five.

Game Changers:

Arturo Vidal
The midfielder has been a massive presence for Juventus on the pitch and has been the driving force behind the team’s success in the Italian Serie A. He was also the joint top scorer for his nation on their way to qualification for the World Cup, and it will be immensely important for Chile that Vidal brings his A-game to the tournament.

Alexis Sanchez
The Barcelona winger/forward has emerged as a dynamic, dangerous player, who has the technical ability to take on the entire defense single handedly. He has already scored twenty two times for his country in just sixty five appearances and Chile will need his finishing ability if they are to make it all the way in the tournament.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 9
Best Finish: 3rd in 1962

Prediction for the Group: Second Runner Up

Chile is an interesting team. Full of pace and power, they have the ability to upset even the best teams in the world. With that said, it is unfortunate for them that they have been placed in the same group with the Netherlands and Spain. On paper, the two European giants should go through, but Chile has the added advantage of playing in familiar conditions. If they can upset either of these two teams, they have a chance of going through. The team certainly has the ability, but they lack the experience of playing on the biggest stage of them all.

Interesting Fact:

The Chileans have earned a top four placing in nineteen editions of the Copa America and have been runners up four times, becoming one of the most consistent team to have never won the title.

Team: Australia

Manager: Ange Postecoglou

Path to Qualification:

The Socceroos were runners up to Japan in the fourth round of the AFC qualifiers. They managed to score twelve goals and conceded seven on their way to a place in the World Cup finals.

Game Changers:

Tim Cahill
The face of Australian soccer, Tim Cahill has been the team’s driving force for the best part of the decade. He is the country’s highest goal scorer and their leading scorer in World Cups as well. Despite having a bit a years on him, the dynamic mid fielder is still a threat if he gets into good positions, and Austria will need his finishing acumen if they are to have a chance of escaping the group stages.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Round of 16, 2006

Prediction for the Group: Third Runner Up

The Socceroos have got to be cursing their bad luck. They have been drawn in a group featuring Spain, the Netherlands and Chile and it is highly unlikely that they will be able to beat any of these teams. Their best chance is to hope for a draw against the top two teams and maybe sneak a win against Chile, which once again is a very tall order. So as things stand, it is most likely that they finish at the bottom of Group B, since the team doesn’t have the quality to compete against the likes of Spain, Chile or the Netherlands. But hey, soccer is always full of surprises. 

Interesting Fact:

The Australian national soccer team holds the world record for the biggest win in international soccer games. They beat the American Samoas 31-0 in 2001. According to this prediction, Netherlands will have to face Brazil in the Round of 16. That could be one of the games of the tournaments, since both teams have the quality to go all the way.

If you think these predictions are flawed then feel free to leave your comments and tell me how you think this group will play out.

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Ivy Oscar is a professional writer and blogger from Magnolia, Delaware. She likes to write about music, sports, celebrities and all the good things in life.
Categories: Soccer, Sports

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