FIFA World Cup

World Cup 2014 Groups Table: Standings, Odds, Bracket Predictions After Day 2

Netherlands' Robin van Persie celebrates with teammate Arjen Robben, right,  after his scoring his side's fourth goal during the second half of the group B World Cup soccer match between Spain and the Netherlands at the Arena Ponte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Friday, June 13, 2014.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
Nate LoopFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2017

There's no doubt about it: The World Cup is back in full force.

Day 2 of the 2014 World Cup brought soccer fans three matches, 11 goals, suspect officiating, a flurry of yellow cards and frenzied crowds. Not a bad day for international soccer's biggest competition.

The action began with Mexico defeating Cameroon 1-0, a flattering scoreline for Cameroon considering Mexico's Giovani dos Santos had two goals disallowed by controversial offside calls.

Petr David Josek/Associated Press

Chile beat Australia 3-1, but the Socceroos put up a valiant effort and kept the match entertaining throughout. Australia's Tim Cahill was excellent, scoring his team's lone goal on a powerful header and constantly urging his teammates to attack.

The big result of the day was the Netherlands' utter demolition of Spain, the defending World Cup champions.

The Netherlands won 5-1, securing revenge for their heartbreaking loss to Spain in the 2010 World Cup final. Spain drew first blood in the match, with striker Diego Costa garnering a penalty kick that Xabi Alonso then buried for a 1-0 lead. The remainder of their appearances in the highlight reel came on the wrong end of fantastic goals from the flying Dutchmen.

Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben scored two goals each, and young Stefan De Vrij notched his first international goal on a set piece.

Four of the Oranje's goals came in the second half, but none were prettier than Van Persie's flying header, which tied the match at 1-1 just before the break. ESPN FC's Twitter account has the highlight:

Grantland.com's Brian Phillips was amazed Van Persie—a veritable glass cannon in world soccer due to his injury history—was in one piece after the goal.

It will be tough for any group-stage match to produce the same kind of hyperbolic action associated with this unlikely rout, but if any tournament is capable of ratcheting up the excitement with each passing day, it is the World Cup (apologies to March Madness).

Here are the complete group standings, bracket predictions and updated odds after Day 2 of the World Cup.

2014 World Cup Group Standings and Predictions
Group A
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Brazil110031st
Mexico110032nd
Cameroon100104th
Croatia100103rd
Group B
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Netherlands110031st
Chile110033rd
Australia100104th
Spain100102nd
Group C
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Colombia000003rd
Greece000004th
Ivory Coast000001st
Japan000002nd
Group D
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Uruguay000002nd
Costa Rica000004th
England000003rd
Italy000001st
Group E
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Switzerland000002nd
Ecuador000003rd
France000001st
Honduras000004th
Group F
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Argentina000001st
Bosnia and Herzegovina000002nd
Iran000004th
Nigeria000003rd
Group G
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Germany000001st
Portugal000002nd
Ghana000004th
United States000003rd
Group H
TeamPWDLPtsPredicted Finish in Group
Belgium000001st
Algeria000004th
Russia000002nd
Korea Republic000003rd
FIFA.com
2014 World Cup Odds
CountryOdds
CountryOdds
Brazil3-1
Germany5-1
Argentina9-2
Spain7-1
Belgium14-1
France20-1
Uruguay22-1
Italy22-1
Netherlands25-1
Colombia25-1
England28-1
Portugal28-1
Chile40-1
Russia66-1
United States100-1
Mexico100-1
Switzerland100-1
Ecuador125-1
Ivory Coast125-1
Croatia150-1
Japan150-1
Bosnia and Herzegovina200-1
Ghana200-1
Greece200-1
Nigeria250-1
South Korea300-1
Australia500-1
Cameroon500-1
Algeria1000-1
Costa Rica1000-1
Honduras1500-1
OddsShark.com

(Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.)

 

Group A Outlook

Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

Brazil will still come out on top in Group A, but Mexico look like legitimate contenders for a spot in the round of 16.

Mexico played the best soccer of the group, quite the surprise considering they limped through World Cup qualifying and needed a big assist from the United States to even make it to Brazil.

Cameroon's listless performance is a sure sign they will finish at the bottom of the group. Opta Sports' Twitter account summed up their disappointing afternoon:

The midfield was unable to find striker Samuel Eto'o in dangerous positions despite his constant effort to find gaps between defenders throughout the match. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl was unable to identify a coherent Cameroonian strategy:

It’s hard to know what coach Volker Finke’s game plan was, since the Indomitable Lions were so often disjointed all over the field. Their problems weren’t for a lack of effort but more so an absence of efficiency. When Cameroon needed a goal in the second half, there just weren’t enough numbers moving downfield until very late in the game (when a couple chances finally came).

It would take a miracle turnaround for them to outclass either Brazil or Croatia. The Indomitable Lions could easily lose all three of their group-stage matches.

Croatia-Mexico should prove to be an entertaining back-and-forth affair. Croatia will have difficulty containing Dos Santos and Oribe Peralta, and a draw or loss against El Tri would almost ensure a surprise group-stage exit due to their loss to Brazil.

 

Group B Outlook

The Netherlands' goal-scoring prowess will surely see them finish at the top of Group B. The Dutch masters were prolific in front of the net—14 total shots, 11 shots on target and five goals. They were content to allow Spain to move the ball in midfield and then make lethal moves on the counter-attack.

ESPN FC's Twitter account brings us the full highlights of the Dutch demolition.

Spain look to be in trouble after their disastrous display in the first match, but as Wahl points out, they've been in this difficult situation before and done just fine.

In 2010, it was a 1-0 loss to a Switzerland team that kept 10 men behind the ball for the majority of the match. The loss against the Netherlands is not cut from the same cloth; Spain are definitely in trouble.

Spain's neat little triangles of passing were conspicuously absent against the Netherlands. Andres Iniesta was a threat early on, putting Costa in dangerous positions with accurate passes, but the rest of his team-mates failed to show any similar spark.

Spain's goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, was out of sorts throughout the entire match. Spain might have to make an emergency switch in goal if they are to salvage their World Cup campaign and beat out Chile for the runner-up spot.

Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and the rest of the Chilean squad held the ball 65 percent of the time against Australia, as per The New York Times. They put up 10 shots, eight of them on target, and were a threat to score from the first minute to the last. Chile will have a good shot at beating Spain, although the defending champions will likely regroup and move on into the round of 16.

Australia are clearly a resilient team, as they could have easily thrown in the towel after quickly going down 2-0. Cahill brought them back into the match with a sumptuous header, and they displayed plenty of fight throughout the match. However, they lack the talent to compete with the heavy hitters in this group and will finish last.

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