2014 FIFA World Cup – Group B
Spain vs Netherlands
Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova – Salvador, Brazil
Friday, June 13, 2014, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Netherlands +445 / Spain -125 / Draw +235
Point Spread: Spain -0.5 -125 / Netherlands +0.5 +105
Total: over 2 -125 / under 2 +105
All odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Spain opens defense of their 2010 World Cup title against the same team they beat in the final in South Africa. The Netherlands look to get revenge for that loss as they two teams open Group B play against each other Friday in Salvador. It is the first time two finalists have met in the following World Cup since Argentina and West Germany met in the finals in 1986 and 1990.
Spain leads the series against the Netherlands 5-4-1. The 1-0 victory in 2010 was the first meeting in the World Cup for the two powers. This will be only the fourth meeting since 2000 and the Netherlands won friendlies in 2000 and 2002.
Since 2008, Spain has won not only the World Cup but the European Championship twice under the leadership of manager Vicente del Bosque. Spain is currently #1 in the FIFA World Rankings.
The 2010 title was their first World Cup. Spain is playing in their 10th straight World Cup. Spain won their UEFA qualifying group with a record of 6-0-2, with the draws coming at France and Finland. Spain outscored their opponents 14-3 in their qualifying group. Spain has gone 5-1 in friendlies leading up to the Cup. The only blemish was a 1-0 loss to South Africa last November. Spain has won their last two warm-ups 2-0 against Bolivia and El Salvador last Saturday.
The Netherlands are #15 in the FIFA rankings. They breezed into the World Cup by only suffering one draw without a defeat. The Dutch finished 9 points clear of Romania in the group to clinch the automatic berth in the World Cup.
The Netherlands have never won the World Cup, but have been the runner-up three times including in 2010 in South Africa. The Dutch are coached by Louis Van Gaal, who will leave the national team after the World Cup to take over Manchester United. The Netherlands have gone 2-1-3 in their last six games before the World Cup. The loss came 2-0 against France in Paris in early March. The Dutch beat Wales 2-0 nine days ago in their last tune-up before the Cup starts.
Spain uses a 4-3-3 attack. Spain has an awesome array of forwards and midfielders any of whom can score at any time. You can only start so many of them though and del Bosque must decide who will start and who will come off the bench. It is a good problem to have to have so much depth. Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Silva will likely start with Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and David Villa in reserve. Spain is also strong along the back line with Gerald Pique, Javi Martinez, and Sergio Ramos on defense. Iker Casillas won the Golden Glove award for top keeper at the 2010 World Cup and is still an elite keeper despite being in his mid 30’s.
The Netherlands will employ a 5-3-2 formation. The Dutch will depend on superstar forwards Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben for most of the scoring. Midfielder Kevin Strootman will miss the tournament with an injury. Jonathan de Guzman, Jordy Clasie, and Nigel deJong will man the midfield. Ron Vlaar, Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Daryl Janmaat and Daley Blind are the defenders. Jasper Cillisen is the keeper.
Spain has won six straight World Cup games , the last 4 by 1-0 scores. The defending champions are 4-0-3 in the first match of the next World Cup recently. The Netherlands out scored their opponents 34-5 in qualifying. I don’t know if they can score against Spain’s staunch defense though. I think Spain wins again by the same 1-0 score.
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