World Cup 2014: Spain v Netherlands Preview, Updates, Live Stream Information
By Mark Wayne Eubank | June 13, 2014 2:26 PM EST
It will be a battle of Group B's titans as Spain will be taking on Netherlands for their opening match of the World Cup.
La Furia Roja will bank on their possession and passing game with Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, and Andres Iniesta, all of whom are FC
"We know that we're going to win or to die with this style of play." - Xavi on Spain's possession-based philosophy
Barcelona players who are used to playing with the tiki-taka style at the Nou Camp, expected to man the middle of the park.
"We've had this philosophy now for a number of years and I think it would be a mistake to change it," said Xavi.
"We know that we're going to win or to die with this style of play."
Meanwhile, the inclusion of Diego Costa in the squad might mean that Vicente del Bosque will be fielding in a group with an out-and-out striker, rather than settling for a false 9, as he did in the past.
Projected Starters (4-3-3): Casillas; Alba, Juanfran, Pique, Ramos; Alonso, Xavi, Busquets; Silva, Iniesta, Costa
The Oranje will look to crowd the midfield in order to try to disrupt the opposition's possession-based offence, (yes, only to disrupt) as it would be very difficult to neutralise a technically sound Spanish midfield.
Distractions is one of their concerns following the recent appointment of Loius van Gaal as Manchester United manager, but the Dutch boss begs to disagree.
"The World Cup is a championship and clubs don't take part in this, so I am fully focused on the national team," said the 62-year-old.
"Distraction? It may be a distraction but, for instance, the players - when was it? - on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I gave them some time off, just to get out there."
"You can't just focus monotonously on the World Cup, so perhaps Manchester United was a good distraction. You can't be fully focused on football for five weeks."
In the meantime, star hitman Robin van Persie will be ready for the much anticipated clash in spite of doubts on his fitness.
"The last few days I have trained fully and I therefore have no more problems," said the Red Devil striker.
"I'm ready for it. Besides, I've been playing six years with aches. There is always something. I've had to learn to do that."
Projected Starters (3-4-1-2): Cillessen; Indi, Vrij, Vlaar; Blind, Janmaat, Jong, Guzman; Sneijder; Robben, v. Persie
Schedule and Live Stream Information (Click on the links below):
Kick-off: 5:00 am, June 14, 2014 (AEST/Sydney Time)
U.S. - [here]
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