World Cup Group B: ‘Spain need to hit the ground running’

Goal’s experts offer their reactions to the World Cup draw in Group B where La Roja, Netherlands, Chile and Australia were pooled together
By Ben Hayward

Reigning champions Spain will go to the World Cup in Brazil as one of the big favourites, but they will have to hit the ground running after being drawn in a difficult group.

They wanted to avoid Chile and a revenge clash with 2010 beaten finalists Netherlands could prove problematic. Even if they do qualify, La Roja could end up facing Brazil in the last 16.

In 2010, Spain started slowly with defeat against Switzerland. This time, they will need to be at their brilliant best from the very beginning.

By Alfredo Morgan

It is a hard draw for Chile. Meeting the defending champions and the runners-up from 2010 [Spain and Netherlands] is a difficult challenge for Jorge Sampaoli and the national squad.

Chile were beaten 2-1 by Spain in the previous World Cup, and they have lost eight of 10 previous meetings, albeit drawing 2-2 after being 2-0 up in their most recent clash.

Australia offer the best chance of a win, while the match against the Netherlands will surely be difficult. Qualifying is not impossible, but it does look very difficult.

By Iain Strachan

World champions Spain are certain to present an enormous threat to a team which suffered consecutive 6-0 defeats to opponents of similar calibre in the form of Brazil and France in the autumn.

The Netherlands are packed full of elite talent. The likes of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are sure to prove hard to handle for a defence whose pace and mobility has been under the microscope.

Chile will be viewed by some casual observers in Australia as the easier game in the group, but the South American side shouldn't be underestimated. It is a very tough draw.

By Stefan Coerts

Louis van Gaal will by not be the happiest of coaches after being paired with Spain, Chile and Australia, but Netherlands will still fancy their chances of making it to the knockout stages.

Spain will be the favourites to win the pool, with Netherlands and Chile fighting it out for second place. The nations have met only once in the past, and that ended in a 2-2 draw in 1928.

Australia should not be underestimated either, but their recent results against top sides suggest that they might be out of their depth in this tough group.