In a rare rematch of the previous tournament’s final, Spain and the Netherlands will face off again at the World Cup in Salvador, Brazil, on Friday (3 pm ET, ESPN, Univision and CBC in Canada). The two teams will be battling Chile and Australia to get out of a tough Group B.
AGING LA ROJA?: After getting smashed 3-0 against Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup final, there has been a lot of talk that Spain might be too old to win another World Cup. Our own Simon Borg doesn’t even have them getting out of the group! Can legends like Xavi, Casillas, and Iniesta pull this team together for one last run?
RELYING ON ROBBEN AND RVP: After rampaging through qualifying, dropping just two points, the Netherlands are entering the 2014 World Cup with just seven players who went to South Africa in 2010. They will be counting on superstars Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to lead Oranje to victory. Judging by their training sessions, everything has not gone swimmingly in the lead up.
KARATE KICK REDUX: This will be the first time that Spain and the Netherlands will play each other since that fateful day in Johannesburg. It is also the first time that Nigel De Jong and Xabi Alonso will see each other face-to-face on the field since then. We all know what happened the last time they saw each other.
BE AFRAID: Louis van Gaal will be taking over Manchester United when the World Cup is over. Judging by his official World Cup picture, van Gaal is ready to intimidate the opposition.
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Xavi, midfielder, Spain. The legendary midfielder for Barcelona and Spain will be looking to go out on top in likely his last major international tournament.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU