|World Cup 2014|
ScheduleFriday, 13 June 2014 at 19:00 GMT / 20:00 UK / 00:30 IST
VenueArena Fonte Nova (Salvador)
Next Friday, Spain will measure forces with the Netherlands at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on the Group B opening (and probably most important) match.
After a lackluster performance against El Salvador last Saturday at Washington DC, Spain will start their World Cup campaign against Holland and they will need to find some of the inspiration they seem to have lost in their recent preparation matches if they want to overcome Louis Van Gaal’s side. La Roja needed sixty minutes to open the score against a timid El Salvador and only grabbed their second goal in the dying moments of the match. Both goals were scored by David Villa. The clash against El Salvador was the Spanish second preparation match over the last fifteen days, as they had already defeated Bolivia at the end of last month also by 2-0.
Del Bosque’s boys’ UEFA qualification round was a walk in the park, although they did experience some unexpected difficulties against clearly inferior opponents, such as Georgia and Belarus. Their usual “tiki-taka” system looks somewhat rusty and the old Spanish side based on Barcelona’s game style foundations is, for now, lost.
After having faced some criticism because of the players he picked up for the World Cup (leaving, for example, Negredo, Jesus Navas and Llorente out of the list), Del Bosque’s options will have an important and difficult test against Holland.
As for Holland, the clash against Spain will be a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final, which they lost 1-0 after extra-time due to an Iniesta goal on the 116th minute. Although Holland’s recent performances have been far from impressive, the Dutch side enjoyed a fantastic World Cup qualification round where they finished at the top of the group with nine wins and one draw in ten matches. Their dominance was blatantly obvious and their fire power was somewhat brilliant, as they scored an impressive amount of 34 goals in just ten matches.
Holland took part on three friendly matches recently to prepare the World Cup and although their displays were far from being brilliant, they obtained two wins and one draw.
For the match against La Roja, the Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal will not be able to count on the contribution of the experienced playmaker Rafael Van der Vaart, who will miss the full tournament due to a last minute injury.
Although both sides are far from the quality standards they presented in the past, Spain are favourites to win the match mainly because of their team’s experience when compared to a somewhat renewed Dutch side.
Stats: W-4 L-1 D-0
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Stats: W-2 L-1 D-2
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Spain (4-3-3) - Casillas - Juanfran - Sergio Ramos - Javi Martinez - Jordi Alba - Xabi Alonso - Busquets - Xavi - Iniesta - Fabregas - Diego Costa
The Netherlands (4-3-3) - Cillessen - Janmaat - Blind - Vlaar - Martins Indi - De Jong - Fer - Sneijder - Robben - Lens - Van Persie