By, Kyle Gibson
The 2010 FIFA World Cup final was everything soccer is not supposed to be. The Netherlands knew it couldn’t match up with the talent of Spain, so it resorted to downright violent conduct. The match produced 14 yellow cards and a red, with several vicious Dutch attacks that aimed at reducing Spain’s creative flair.
Then, late in extra time, like a Hollywood script, a true soccer savant named Andres Iniesta was able to rise up and volley Spain to victory.
Four years later, the sides meet again in the World Cup. This time, it’s a group stage match in Salvador. Sure enough, like last meeting, the Spanish are the more talented side. According to many, though, this team is the most beatable it’s been in perhaps six years.
I think Spain will win, though. The midfield will have too much magic for a Dutch defensive line that spends the majority of its time playing Dutch league soccer. The Spanish mids read like a world 11, with Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Koke, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla. Only 4-5 can play at a time, but you can bring at least 2 of those guys on as substitutes to continue dancing around the Dutch.
In a year that many in the public and many in their lofty pundit positions think Spain will flame out, I still believe in magic. I still believe that, in an unfair world, good can still triumph over bad.
Spain 2-1 Netherlands
Mexico 1-1 Cameroon
Mexico will need to win this one. I just don’t see it happening.
Chile 3-1 Australia.
Sanchez and Vidal get the ball rolling in a big way.