World Cup Group B Preview – Kick Off Times, World Cup Squads and More

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Teams- Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Fixtures, Dates, Venues,  Kick Off Times

June 13th Spain vs Netherlands – Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador- KO 20:00 GMT

June 13th Chile vs Australia – Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá – KO 23:00 GMT

June 18th Australia vs Netherlands – Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre – KO 17:00 GMT

June 18th Spain vs Chile – Estádio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro – KO 20:00 GMT

June 23rd Australia vs Spain – Arena da Baixada, Curitiba – KO 17:00 GMT

June 23rd Netherlands vs Chile – Arena de São Paulo, São Paulo – KO 17:00 GMT

Group B and enter two of Europe’s big guns; Spain and Holland contested the 2010 final and are expected to be up there vying for the honour of topping group B this time round. With the two giants meeting in the opening game, it could present Australia and Chile with the chance to seize the initiative. It will also put pressure on the European big boys if they lose their opening game, having to play two very capable teams in the hot and humid conditions their opponents will be much more used to. Don’t be surprised if we see an upset in this group, and qualification from it is sure to go right down to the wire.

Spain’s Squad

Goalkeepers:Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United).

Defenders:Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (both Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Cesar Azplicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla).

Midfielders:Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Jesus Navas (Manchester City).

Forwards:Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Juventus), Fernando Torres (Chelsea).

Key man-Andres Iniesta Even though Spain are yet to trim their 30 man provisional squad, everyone knows this man will be in it. After the 2010 World Cup and countless Champions League outings the world  knows all about the Spaniard’s skill, close control, vision, dribbling and superb passing, not to mention his seemingly telepathic link with fellow Catalan Xavi. He hasn’t quite hit the same heights he is used to in a turbulent season for Barcelona, however the star man from the last World Cup has more than enough talent and drive to guide his team to back to back trophies.

Netherlands Squad

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven).

Defenders: Daley Blind, Joel Veltman (both Ajax), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi, Tonny Vilhena (all Feyenoord), Karim Rekik (PSV Eindhoven, on loan from Manchester City), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem, on loan from Chelsea), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven).

Forwards: Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Quincy Promes (Twente), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).

Key man-Arjen Robben Louis Van Gaal is another yet to trim his squad, however Arjen Robben is going to be his star man heading into this tournament. His amazing ability to travel quicker with the ball than without is something no full back will enjoy seeing in Brazil and the showdown between him and Jordi Alba in the opening group game will  be crucial to the match. We have seen him unleash many left foot rockets over the years after cutting in from the right wing so he should bang a few goals this tournament too. He is playing in a successful team at Bayern and that confidence combined with added experience and his prime form, could see him have a World Cup to remember.

Chile Squad

Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica)

Defenders:Gary Medel (Cardiff City), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest), Marcos Gonzalez (Union Espanola), Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Eugenio Mena (Santos), Mauricio Isla (Juventus).

Midfielders: Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras), Felipe Gutierrez (Twente), Rodrigo Millar (Atlas), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo), Francisco Silva (Osasuna), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Charles Aranguiz (Internacional), Marcelo Diaz (Basel), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Miiko Albornoz (Malmo).

Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), Eduardo Vargas (Valencia), Jean Beausejour (Wigan Athletic), Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari), Fabian Orellana (Celta).

Key Man-Alexis Sanchez The fact that Arturo Vidal has recently returned from knee surgery sees Sanchez just pip the midfield dynamo to our key man award. He has struggled at Barcelona since his move but he has had a very productive season this year, making 54 appearances and scoring 21 goals, creating 15 assists in the process. Not bad considering the wealth of talent Barcelona have in forward positions, Sanchez is another who thrives at International level knowing he is his team’s key man, unlike at club level. His blistering pace, sensational dribbling and knack of grabbing spectacular goals will ensure that, if he is on form, fans will love watching him in Brazil this summer.

Australia Squad

Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge).

Defenders: Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Curtis Good (Dundee United, on loan from Newcastle), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Bailey Wright (Preston North End).

Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Joshua Brillante (Newcastle Jets), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Tommy Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Adam Sarota (Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion).

Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus 8), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).

Tim Cahill

Key man-Tim Cahill The former Everton man may now be 34, but he still has the same leap, heading ability and desire to win, something that will no doubt be a big factor in what is set to be his last world cup. He loves playing for his country and his record of 31 goals in 67 caps proves this. Although Cahill has adapted his game to play further up the pitch as his years advance, the lower level of football he has been playing at in the MLS, could have a big factor when turned against the worlds best. However one thing we can guarantee from this Aussie legend, he will give it everything he has in Brazil this summer.

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