Daily Cup Check: Previewing Group B
OTF contributor Sam Fels is going group by group with his beer goggles to set you up for this summer of footy fun and love…
Let’s keep on trucking into Group B today.
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
However they do in this tournament, Spain will go down as the best international side of this generation. You probably have to go back to 1970 Brazil to find a similarly dominant side, and they didn’t pile up European championships like Spain has. Can la Furia Roja top it off by retaining the World Cup? Probably not. While Spain specialize in not playing with a striker, their midfield is getting a little old to go without one. They’re only hope is Diego Costa being healthy in that department, because if you’re going to toss the clown car of Fernando Torres or David Villa out there, it’s an issue.
But it’s still perhaps the best midfield you’ll find, no matter how they concoct it. Seriously, Koke and Juan Mata might not get a sniff. That’s just utterly ridiculous. But you worry about the defense, because any back line that contains Sergio Ramos can go from impenetrable to down a man in the blink of an eye (I always think Ramos is going to get sent off). And as seen at the Confederations Cup, a team that can come at them at real pace could be a problem with all of Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, and others getting up there in age. Like, Brazil for example. There’s will be a heroic defense, but they won’t hold. But, they’ll get out of this group easy enough.
Boy, does this have the makings of a total disaster. When you’re solely depending on Robin Van Persie to stay healthy and not turn into a total tool, you know you’re up against it. This is basically the same team as four years ago, except they’re four years older and probably even more likely to knife Robben when he cuts in from the right to blast over by about 30 feet for the 17th time in the first half.
The Dutch haven’t produced a new generation of stars yet, and with Spain just better, and Arturo Vidal ready to eat them in the group stage, chances are Clockwork Orange is going home Clockwork Early. Oh, and their manager might be doing ManU’s transfer business while on the bench. Needless to say, this isn’t the best cocktail for success.
Now this is a team I’m pretty excited to see. And it’s all about Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, who lit up the last World Cup. Vidal is an absolute monster, and it’s strange that we now consider Italy something of a hiding place. But seriously, do that many people regularly watch Serie A? They have one team that matters, and even they don’t matter that much. And Vidal is the player who matters most, along with Pogba. The man just goes box-to-box like his balls are on fire.
The Chileans play at a pretty ridiculous pace all over the pitch, and will provide the first test to see how Spain deals with that sort of pressure. They’ll probably shred the Dutch, and the Australians are going to be gasping for air. Win the group and they could go far because there won’t be much in second place in Group A they can’t handle. If you’re looking for non-chalk picks to go far, this is one bet you could place.
This would be a waste of my time and yours.
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