World Cup Preview: Group B

Rapids staff weighs in with perspective and predictions

The Colorado Rapids sales and service staff put together previews of each World Cup group, and we will be running their perspective and predictions on the day that each group opens play. Today is Group B, written by Account Executive Stuart Polsky

Spain: Say hello to Spain, the class of the 2014 World Cup. Coming off of championships at the 2008 European Championship, the 2010 World Cup, and the 2012 European Championship, Spain is set to take the Copa Mundial by storm and bring home another trophy. Led by stars such as Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas (and the list goes on), the defending World Champions should make minced meat of Australia and Chile. The Dutch will be hungry for vengeance after losing the final of the 2010 World Cup to Spain, but it would be surprising if Spain dropped any points in the group stage, let alone return to the motherland without the Cup.

Holland: One of the more exciting attacking teams to watch, Holland should expect to beat out Australia and Chile to come in second in the group stage, and advance to the round of 16 behind Spain. Keep your eye out for the speedy Arjen Robben on the right wing and Robin van Persie poaching goals up top. The Bayern Munich and Manchester United players, respectively, should lead Holland to at least the round of 16, however a shaky defense will create problems for the Dutch further on in the tournament.

Chile: Led by FC Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez, along with Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, the South Americans could be the Group B spoilers for a Spanish or Dutch side who expect to advance out of the group stage. If Chile takes care of Australia, and squeaks out a result against a flimsy Dutch defense, do not be surprised to see Chile off to the round-of-16. Even Spain should be a bit concerned, as Sanchez might have some tips for his Chilean teammates about how to deal with his Catalan club teammates (Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Busquets, Puyol, Pique, and Pedro).

Australia: The supposed weakest team in Group B will make its fourth appearance in a World Cup. Led by NY Red Bulls midfielder/forward Tim Cahill, expect the Australians to defend deep and counter-attack (when they get the ball). This energetic side might not be enough to handle the “total football” displayed by the Dutch and Spanish, but keep in mind that the Aussies advanced to the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup, only to narrowly lose to eventual winners, Italy. Can the underdogs of Group B make another splash?

PREDICTED FINISH:

  1. Spain
  2. Netherlands
  3. Chile
  4. Australia