After two convincing wins each, Netherlands and Chile are both through to the Round of 16. What they will be playing for on Monday in Sao Paulo is placement in the group. With the second-place team most likely facing host nation Brazil in the knockout stages, expect both nations to come out and try and win the game.
REST FOR THE WEARY? With both teams advanced to the knockout round, one might expect the teams to rest some players, but there is little indication that will actually happen. Managers Louis Van Gaal and Jorge Sampaoli will want to keep their teams rolling and on form, which can be more important than any rest the players might need. The teams will have at least four days of rest in between this game and their Round of 16 matches, which should be plenty of time to get their legs to bounce back.
COUNTER TO THE COUNTER: These two teams have been at their best in this tournament when they have been able to defend and counter. That of course becomes a little more exaggerated since each team has faced Spain, but it doesn’t hide the fact that both are less comfortable in sustained possession. So which team will be “forced” to control the ball?
ROBBEN AND ROBIN SHOW: The two stars of the Dutch team have started the World Cup on fire. They have combined for six goals, leading their team to the top of a tough Group B. Their movement, space, and finishing ability has driven defenders crazy and look for that to continue against a suspect Chilean backline. One thing to consider while you are watching: Both stars are over 30, so can they keep up this pace the whole tournament?
FUTURE BOSS?: Arturo Vidal, Chile’s outstanding box-to-box midfielder, bounced back with a big-time performance against Spain. Hampered by an injury entering the tournament, he would be the one player most likely in line for a breather. But that would be a missed opportunity for Louis Van Gaal to see the Chilean in person, given Vidal is a rumored target of Manchester United, where Van Gaal will be coach after the World Cup.
My favorite World Cup photo so far: Arturo Vidal, ball-head (credit: Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/lKw2J0rhev— Matt Ufford (@mattufford) June 20, 2014
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Arjen Robben, forward, Netherlands – The superstar has thrived whenever he has had a chance to get in the open field, showcasing his speed and technical ability. Somehow he still fools defenders although he cuts to his left all the time.
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Charles Aranguiz, midfielder, Chile – The 25-year-old dynamo has been one of Chile’s best players so far in this tournament, lining up in Sampaoli’s central midfield. He scored Chile’s second goal against Spain on Wednesday.