World Cup Group B Preview

David Ramos

If Group G is the so-called " Group of Death" then Group B is at least the "Group of a Beating Until the Brink of Death."

A look at the group that I consider to be the second toughest group in the World Cup:

Spain:

Spain comes into the World Cup as one of the favorites to win the tournament. Why wouldn't they be? They won the last World Cup in 2010 and won the Euro Cup in 2012.  They are loaded with talent and experience up and down the roster. The only thing I can look at and point to as a downside would the 3-0 beat down at the hands of Brazil in last years Confederations Cup final. It shows that the Spaniards are human and not just an unstoppable force of soccer domination. With that said, I can't see Spain struggling to get out of the group.

Key players: Diego Costa, Andres Iniesta, David Villa

FIFA Ranking: 1

Netherlands:

When Spain won the World Cup in 2010, it was none other than the Netherlands who were on the losing end of that match. Hopes were high after that runner-up finish, but 3 straight losses in the group stage of the Euro Cup in 2012 made for a whole lot of question marks. Doom and gloom turned to elation when the Dutch dominated in qualifying. Owning UEFA Group D by winning 9 out of 10 games; the one "slip up" being a draw. Their roster has several world class players that can make an enormous difference. It's just a question of which Dutch team will show up in Brazil.

Key players: Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben

FIFA ranking: 15

Chile:

Everyone's favorite "dark horse" pick. They earned their way to the World Cup via a third place finish in CONMEBOL. If you want to pick a team to watch for its entertainment value, the Chileans might have what you're looking for. The up-tempo, quick passing attack is fun and beautiful when executed correctly. The bad news is while running a 3-4-3 formation at said speed, that leaves you completely vulnerable to counter attacks. If star midfielder Arturo Vidal is fully recovered from knee surgery, I think Chile could turn into the surprise team of the tournament that everyone is labeling them now.

Key Players: Arturo Vidal (If healthy), Alexis Sanchez

FIFA Ranking: 14

Australia:

The poor Socceroos. An unlucky draw sent them to Group B, likely to be the whipping boy for the other 3 soccer behemoths. The Aussies only won 3 of 8 qualifying matches, yet that was good enough to finish 2nd behind Japan in their group. Not happy with the direction the team was moving, manager Holger Osieck was fired in October. New manager Ange Postecoglou has only been with the team for 5 matches. Not ideal when heading into playing Spain, Holland and Chile. Yikes.

Key Players: Mile Jedinak, Tim Cahill

FIFA Ranking: 62

Projected Finish:

1. Spain

2. Chile

3. Netherlands

4. Australia


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