Spain, the World Champions are GONE GONE GONE!!!!!!! And the two teams who have conquered them in the World Cup face each other later today to decide who will top Group B. Now their group is paired with Group A and whoever loses this match will be more than likely to face the hosts Brazil in the knockout phase, whose group is completed after this mouth watering clash. Louis Van Gaal’s Holland top the group as we stand, on goal difference, so a draw would be enough for them, they however may not be too fussed about playing Brazil, they beat them in the last World Cup and have a good international record against the five times World Cup winners (though playing them on their home patch is a different proposition). Chile however have lost to Brazil 50 times in 70 games, including in the knockout phase of the last World Cup – they have not actually beaten them since besting them in a World Cup qualifier in 2000 winning 3-0. As you can see from my prediction below I think it will end up a draw, but it will be very interesting to see how both teams approach the match as well as the teams the managers select especially knowing they will both be playing again in this World Cup. I suspect as group leaders the Dutch may be a tad cautious and try to grow into the game like they did to devastating effect against the Spanish, especially as they do not have their record goalscorer Robin Van Persie who is suspended after picking up a second yellow in the tournament in their thrilling win against Australia. Chile however only know one way to play under their manager Jorge Sampaoli, and that is to get into the opposition and put them on the back foot by pressing and going forward at every conceivable opportunity. There is no effect on other sides qualification from the group so both teams can in theory go for it hammer and tongs, especially as these two sides like to play attacking football when the opportunity arises. For me an early Chile goal will set the game up nicely, as the longer the game stays 0-0 you think that conserving energy for the knockout phase may enter the teams minds and the game could peter-out into a convenience draw. Lets hope for the former.
Australia 1 Spain 3
Netherlands 1 Chile 1
Cameroon 1 Brazil 4
Croatia 2 Mexico 1
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