World Cup 2014: Spain v Netherlands match preview
A look ahead to the rematch from the 2010 World Cup final
Thursday 12 June 2014
Title holders Spain are ready to square off against 2010 finalists Netherlands in what seems to be the most anticipated match of the 2014 World Cup group stage. The final in South Africa consisted of numerous hard challenges, memorable highlights and an overall bad temper between two recognised sides and the only difference from tonight is that this will be just a group B match.
The Furia Roja are looking to make history and become the first and only team to win two back-to-back European championships and World Cups in just six years. Striker Diego Costa, who seems to be closing in on a Chelsea move, did not show any signs of pain during Tuesday’s practice and seems to have overcome his hamstring injury sustained at Atletico Madrid’s closing match in Camp Nou.
Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal will be hoping that striker Robin van Persie’s fitness is up to par after suffering a groin injury. The Manchester United player was also involved in a strange accident with a kitesurfer on Monday but got away with minor scratches and a headache. Nevertheless, The Oranje captain is very confident that he can perform and carry out his part during the competition.
KICK-OFF: Friday, 8pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Netherlands 0 Spain 1 (Iniesta), World Cup final, July 2010
Netherlands 1 (Frank de Boer) Spain 0, International friendly, March 2002
Spain 1 (Hierro) Netherlands 2 (Hasselbaink, Frank de Boer), International friendly, November 2000
This is only the second time these two sides will face off in the World Cup.
Spain have not conceded a single goal in their past three matches where they beat Italy, Bolivia and El Salvador. Netherlands are undefeated in their past three fixtures as they beat Ghana and Wales but drew Ecuador.
This is the first time ever where the same teams that played in the previous World Cup final will be squaring off in the group stage opening match.
Robin van Persie is Netherlands' all-time top scorer. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas and striker David Villa have amassed the most caps and goals respectively than any other in the history of the Spain national team.
Louis van Gaal has won every major title available in Netherlands, Spain and Germany as well as the Champions League, UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. However, he has never won a trophy at international level.
Spain to win: 10.11
Holland to win: 4.1
TV: Live on BBC One at 8pm
Everyone remembers Andres Iniesta’s winning goal in the last World Cup final but the most shocking moment of that match was when Nigel de Jong karate kicked Xabi Alonso and only got away with a yellow card by referee Howard Webb.
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