Dear footy fans,
Here we go again! We have exactly 60 days until kick-off!
TVB is going to be broadcasting the matches, LIVE. If you have the apps to access TVB on your TVPad, you’re good to go.
Here is the schedule for Group B:
|Date – Time (PDT)||TIME (EDT)||Match|
|13/06 – 12:00||15:00||Spain||-||Netherlands|
|13/06 – 15:00||18:00||Chile||-||Australia|
|18/06 – 09:00||12:00||Australia||-||Netherlands|
|18/06 – 12:00||15:00||Spain||-||Chile|
|23/06 – 09:00||12:00||Netherlands||-||Chile|
|23/06 – 09:00||12:00||Australia||-||Spain|
Spain and Netherlands are two very strong teams, but there is more than just that to Group B.
Australia is in a tough spot right now. Their team hasn’t been flooded with talent over the years, and their shortcomings are becoming especially worrisome. With Mark Schwarzer retired and Lucas Neill in his twilight years, Australia’s defense would need to perform beyond their class if their were to stop the Chilean attack, let alone the Spanish and Dutch. With a severe lack of talent up front, Australia has been forced to play the aging Tim Cahill there, with no real support from midfield. They would need to come up with extreme creativity to pry open the rest of this group.
Chile has grown to be stronger in the recent years, especially with young talents such as Mauricio Isla (defence), Arturo Vidal (midfield), and Alexis Sanchez (forward) performing consistently and superbly for both club and country. Isla aside, however, Chile has no real defensive stronghold, especially in the middle. The attack-oriented Spanish and Dutch will no doubt exploit that weakness.
Netherlands is blessed with a decent pool of strong players in almost every position, and historically they are expected to perform on the world stage. Their current first choice center backs could be a vulnerability, though, and manager Van Gaal might have to be extra creative in team selection in order to utilize the appropriate players in the appropriate games, keeping his key players fresh and injury free. That said, with players like Kevin Strootman, Nigel de Jong, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Robin van Persie, Netherlands can be one of the most exciting teams to watch in this World Cup.
Spain, the holding champions, will face a tough test this year. Specifically, their formerly “unplayable” tiki-taka style has been successfully decoded by many opposing teams in recent games. FC Barcelona, who shares most of its core players and tiki-taka philosophy with the Spanish national team, has been continually exposed and beaten. Spain will need to change things up in order to avoid defeats from teams that are defensively balanced, strong on the wings, and deadly if given space – namely, in this group, the Netherlands. The flexibility and pace of the Dutch are a real threat to tiki-taka. Optimistically, the addition of Diego Costa to the team might be a sign that Spain is entertaining the option to play a real striker up front, instead of a false nine, and therefore a (slightly) different system.
So, what is your say? Who do you think will win the group? Voice your opinions in the comments below.
Meanwhile, with all that said about Spain, let us take a look at tiki-taka in all its glory: