Group B is one of the more difficult groups in this World Cup and features the two finalists from the 2010 World Cup. Friday afternoon the Netherlands will meet Spain in their opening match and will be looking to produce a win and take an early lead at the top of this table.
If you head over to World Soccer Talk you can read my latest article, Netherlands vs Spain Tactical Preview – Why the Dutch Could Surprise, for my detailed analysis of the Netherlands tactical approach in this match.
Holland will be looking to use a 5-2-1-2 setup to squeeze Spain’s midfield and look to counter quickly transitioning to more of a 3-4-1-2 in attack. The front two will most likely be Robin van Persie in an advanced role while Arjen Robben will be able to operate behind him and have freedom to roam and find space.
The two key areas to watch for in this match will be Holland’s back five and their two defensive midfielders. The wingbacks, Blind and Janmaat, will be of especial importance in defense and going forward.
While my round 1 predictions for the World Cup have picked this match for a 2-2 draw, I believe that the Netherlands stands a very good chance of winning this match and taking the advantage in this group.
Friday’s match will be shown live on U.S. television on ESPN and Univision with kickoff at 3:00pm ET.