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Spain vs. Netherlands: Keys to the 2010 World Cup Final Rematch

Jun 11, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Republic of Ireland defender Sean St. Ledger (5) controls the ball in front of Spain forward David Villa (7) during the first half of a friendly match at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IJanuary 12, 2017

While much has been made of the U.S. men's national team being placed in the "Group of Death," one of the biggest stories coming out of the World Cup draw is the opening game for the Spain and Netherlands—against each other.

Bleacher Report

The two met in the final of the 2010 World Cup, with Spain winning the gritty match 1-0 to claim their first World Cup in team history. The two will meet once again on June 13, 2014 in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the group stage.

Though it likely won't produce 14 yellow cards and a red card like the 2010 Final, here are some of the keys to victory for both sides.

Jun 11, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Spain defender Jordi Alba (18) and Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman (2) fight for the ball during the second half of a friendly match at Yankee Stadium. Spain defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0. Mandatory Credit:
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Spain

The Spanish have one of the best midfields in the entire tournament. With Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta shoring up the midfielder positions for Spain, it is by far their biggest strength against a team like the Netherlands.

In fact, the Spanish are still stacked with so much talent that FIFA has them coming in as the No. 1 team. But the odds look stacked against them to win the whole thing, according to ESPN: 

The defensive consistency of the Dutch continues to be a problem heading into the World Cup, an issue the Spanish will look to exploit. The strong play of the Spanish midfield should create opportunities for the strikers, and Spain has more than enough talent at that position as well.

With a combination of Fernando Torres and David Villa, one of the two is likely to be a hero for Spain. Lest we forget, the Man of the Match the last time these two faced off in the World Cup was Andres Iniesta, who tallied the winning goal with just four minutes remaining in extra time.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Netherlands

Currently the No. 9 team in the world according to FIFA, the Netherlands are a formidable foe for Spain in the opening round.  The talent on this team lies with their attacking style and midfielder Wesley Sneijder, along with strikers Robin Van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Despite all of their talent, Goal.com believes the Netherlands will be out in the group stage:

In order for the Dutch to pull out the opener, it will need to exploit a somewhat shaky defense for Spain. Part of a defense that struggles with lapses of its own, Van Persie and Arjen Robben will need to step up. If Robben can overcome his me-first attitude on the pitch, the Netherlands might stand a chance to defeat Spain and make a run.

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