It seems amazing but come 10pm this evening Spain could be OUT of the World Cup. After their embarrassing 1-5 defeat to the Dutch in their opening game, if they lose to Chile there is the distinct possibility that they will be leaving Brazil at the group stage. By the time they kick off in the Maracana Stadium, Rio, Holland would have played and if the they beat Australia in the earlier kick off, the Spaniards know that any defeat will mean they relinquish their hold on the World Cup. Chile will be no pushovers and they themselves will want to secure qualification to the knockout phase before their final group game against the Netherlands. Whatever the case the spotlight will be on the current World Champions especially their team selection due to some poor individual performances in their first match. Spain did lose their opening game in the last World Cup and we all know what happened next so all is not lost, but the defeat in South Africa against the Swiss was a bit of a freak result, the thrashing by Holland was not. A very interesting and maybe seminal match awaits. It should be noted that in recent history it is no surprise that reigning World Champions have gone out in the group stage of the following tournament. France (in 2002) and Italy (in 2010) as holders both crashed out at the group stage without winning a match – Spain will hope history does not repeat itself this time.
The second round of group matches are now underway and some teams will not be able to play it safe and all ‘cagey’ anymore (not that there have been many games like that). This is where we will see sides having to go for it (as above with Spain). This World Cup so far has seen a lot of positive football, long may it continue I have a feeling this next set of fixtures will be a step up again.
Australia 0 Netherlands 2
Spain 2 Chile 2
Cameroon 1 Croatia 3
Let me know what you think – you can also tweet me @biggishmouth or go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebiggishmouth