With the World Cup just right around the corner (ok, like a really big corner), we’ll be taking some time every Friday to investigate the best ball-kickers (it’s a technical term, don’t worry about it) of each World Cup group. Today, one of this year’s “Groups of Death,” Group B!
(Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters / Landov)
Spain sits comfortably at the top of FIFA’s World Rankings (sponsored by Coca-Cola, because FIFA loves money), and are the team to beat once again. The Spaniards are coming in as the defending champions, while holding back-to-back European championships as well. Essentially a La Liga all-star team led by Andres Iniesta (who is inexplicably always passed over for “best player in the world” status), they are strong, but not invincible. Except for in the group stage. They are totally invincible in the group stage. See you in the Round of 16, Spain.
While they are coming into this cup with a low profile, not to mention being drawn with both teams who played in the last World Cup final, Chile has quietly been putting together a giant-killer of a squad. Led by Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona, the road won’t be easy for Chile; if they escape their slobberknocker of a group they could end up playing Brazil in their first knockout round matchup. But the Brazilian climate suits the Chileans and they have a little bit of the fairy dust that can make a team stick around for a while.
There’s no doubt that the attacking prowess that got the Dutch to the finals four years ago still exists in spades. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben have proven that they can pretty much score at will (RVP just maybe hasn’t wanted to as much this year). The problem lies with the young and inexperienced midfield and backfield. The Netherlands does a lot with a little in terms of world soccer, but there is a question of them making it out of the group this go-around, and that is concerning for the Dutch. Although with the kind of things that go on in Amsterdam, they can’t be that concerned.
Tim Cahill is really good. Australia is not. Sorry Australia, it was fun while it lasted.
More Sports on Maxim.com: