Spain v Holland: World Cup Group B 2014

Spain V Holland

Spain v Holland tonight in the Group B match and a repeat of the 2010 final in South Africa…

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Team News…….

Spain begin the defence of their World Cup crown with a fully-fit squad from which to choose.

Brazil-born striker Diego Costa has recovered from the injury problems that blighted the end of his club season.

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is expected to start with the 5-3-2 formation he has trialled in their warm-up matches.

Jonathan de Guzman is fit again after a hamstring injury, while Wesley Sneijder is in line to win his 100th cap.

Striker Robin van Persie is due to start despite being troubled by fitness problems with his groin and knee during Manchester United’s campaign.

“The last few days I have trained fully and so have no more problems,” Van Persie said.

“I am ready for it. Besides, for six years I have been playing with aches and pains, there is always something and I have learned to live with it.”

Spain’s history makers take the first step towards adding what they hope will be another entry in football’s record books when they open their World Cup campaign with a repeat of the 2010 final against the Netherlands.

Vicente del Bosque’s side are aiming to win a fourth straight major trophy, yet they have still had to laugh off questions that their unprecedented era of dominance will come to an end in Brazil.
It is hard to understand how a squad blessed with 16 men that have already won a World Cup and average around 60 caps per man are being written off in certain quarters.

“We need to keep focused and stick to the philosophy of playing style that has brought us so much success,” says defender Sergio Ramos, who comes into the tournament fresh from winning the Champions League for Real Madrid.

The 2010 World Cup final was no classic and, Andres Iniesta’s winning goal aside, it is best remembered for the Netherlands’ rough-house tactics – epitomised by Nigel de Jong’s kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso’s chest. Referee Howard Webb was forced to issue 14 bookings and one red card.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal knows he is not blessed with a squad as good as Spain or the other favourites at this tournament, so he has created a new formation to work towards maximising the strengths of what he has at his disposable.

Gone is the favoured Dutch 4-3-3 and in its place will be a five-man defence to make “space narrow” for Spain’s attackers, according to Van Gaal.

The change has seemingly gone down well with a notoriously fractious Dutch squad. “I don’t think at the moment we are capable of playing tika taka,” admits Arjen Robben.

The Bayern Munich player will be motivated to atone for his miss in extra time in the final four years ago and lines-up alongside skipper Robin van Persie in attack.



  • This is the first time in World Cup history that the finalists from the previous tournament have met in their first game.
  • Spain lead by five wins to four from their 10 previous meetings. The only draw was a friendly match in Barcelona in 1987 that finished 1-1.
  • Their only previous World Cup encounter was in the 2010 final, which Spain won 1-0
  • Spain have 16 returning players from their squad at the 2010 tournament – the Netherlands have seven.


  • The defending world champions have only won their first game in three of the last 10 World Cups (D4, L3). Italy drew 1-1 with Paraguay in 2010.
  • Spain lost their opening game of the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland, but went on to become the first team to win the tournament having lost their first game.
  • That defeat to the Swiss is the only match that coach Vicente del Bosque has lost in 25 World Cup fixtures, including qualifiers (W22, D2).
  • They won 1-0 in all four knockout matches at the 2010 World Cup. Only Italy (five games in 1990) and Switzerland (five in 2006 & 2010) have ever had a longer run of clean sheets in the competition.
  • Goalkeeper Iker Casillas is three World Cup clean sheets short of matching the 10-game record shared by England’s Peter Shilton and France’s Fabien Barthez. Casillas has gone 433 consecutive minutes unbeaten – a clean sheet against the Dutch would see him surpass the record of 517 minutes set by Italy’s Walter Zenga in 1990.
  • In 2010, Spain became the lowest-scoring winners of a World Cup finals, scoring just eight goals in seven matches.
  • Manchester United duo David de Gea and Juan Mata are the only members of the Spain squad not to have played for a club that qualified for the Champions League this season.
  • David Villa – Spain’s top scorer at World Cup finals with eight goals – has been directly involved in seven of Spain’s last nine goals in the tournament (six goals, one assist).


  • The Netherlands have made it past the group stage in their last seven World Cup appearances, reaching the final three times.
  • Robin van Persie was the top European scorer in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers with 11 goals.
  • Wesley Sneijder is expected to become the sixth Dutchman to win 100 caps. Dirk Kuyt could win his 99th.
  • The Netherlands have won 63{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} of their World Cup matches outside Europe, compared to just 42{70aeb3532cb26dbe277d25ea128ebb74de84b9bd22e1583b0eb1b73768e061f6} on European soil.

Suggested Bets…..

Spain are pretty restrained in victory. They scored more than twice only once in eight qualifiers. Six of the eight stayed under 2.5 Goals. Along with the circumstances of this being an opening group game, that goes a long way to explaining the 1.59 about no more than two goals on Friday night.

Opta has dug deep to unearth the following: Spain have won eight finals games 1-0, which is the most common outcome to their games.

In total, 18 of Spain’s previous 56 World Cup matches have ended with under 1.5 Goals (including six of the most recent nine).

Van Gaal is likely to have prepared the Netherlands specifically for this match. If the Dutch youngsters at the back can stifle their ball-hogging opponents then, with a little help from Nigel De Jong, they can keep the goals count low here too.

Del Bosque will not raise Spain’s tempo unless they run into trouble, which means a one-goal game is very plausible and another goalless 90 minutes is also a runner.

Back Under 1.5 Goals @ 2.76

Back 4/1 Spain

Back 10/1 Holland

Best Cash Out Opportunity Lay the Netherlands to qualify from Group B now, watch them fall to defeat on Friday evening, then enjoy Chile’s dismantling of Australia, safe in the knowledge that you can then lockdown a small profit on the downfall of the Dutch.

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1 Comment
  1. I’m going with a BTTS – YES!!!!

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