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World Cup Draw 2014: Group B is death

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Say hello to your group of death. Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Poor Australia.

We have a group of death in Group B. The two finalists from the 2010 World Cup and a very good side in Chile mean that at least one team that should go through won't. Poor Australia round out the group, and if they manage to qualify it'll surely be their biggest-ever footballing achievement. We're sorry for the Socceroos, but this group is going to be amazing.


Spain. The defending World Champions are also double European Champions, and as such they're automatically one of the favorites in whichever tournament they're playing in. That's not to say that Spain are invincible -- they lost their first group stage game four years ago -- but they're very, very good. Formed mostly from an impressive core of Real Madrid and Barcelona players, La Roja boast the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos. And the emergence of Diego Costa as one of La Liga's top scorers means that the questions over their centre forward position may well have been resolved.

Going through

Chile. One of South America's top teams over the last few years, Chile have a star-studded lineup with players featuring for some of Europe's top teams. Juventus' Arturo Vidal and Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez are two of the world's best, with Vidal still underrated despite the Old Lady's midfield dominance. Chile gave a strong showing of themselves at the last World Cup, making it to the knockout rounds before being down in Spain, and you can expect them to give their opponents a tough test this time. Don't be surprised if they give a strong accounting of themselves here.


Netherlands. A tough call, but this is a tough group, and the Netherlands' miserable showing in Euro 2012 lends doubt to their ability to overcome elite teams like Spain and Chile. They're a powerful side, with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben capable of doing horrible, horrible things to opposing defences, but their own back line is a combination of inexperienced and not very good, and there are questions about whether or not their midfield is old enough to compete at this level just yet.

Dead Last

Australia. Sorry, Australia. But a tough group draw means that they're almost certainly going home. The Socceroos might have taken some sides by surprise, but they simply don't have the quality to compete with any of the other three sides in this draw. Barring some sort of miracle... better luck next time. But that's OK; this is a squad that looks better prepared to put up a fight in 2018 anyway.

Best Player

Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona midfielder might be out of the limelight at the club level with Lionel Messi and Neymar both operating at the Camp Nou, but he's the last man to score in a World Cup, notching the extra-time winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 final. A rematch beckons here. An elegant, refined playmaker who stands out despite Spain having a boatload of creative players, Iniesta is virtually impossible to defend against when he's on his game.

Emerging Star

Arturo Vidal. Vidal should be a household name by now, but despite being one of Europe's top midfielders, he gets nowhere near the respect he deserves. Sure, he's not exactly young at 26, but if Chile can get out of their group, the tough-tackling powerhouse might well stamp itself into the world's consciousness this time around.

Must-Watch Game

Netherlands vs. Spain. A rematch of the 2010 World Cup final? Yes please. The two sides square off in Salvador at the Arena Fonte Nova on June 13th for the group opener. If you're not watching it, you're doing something wrong.