World Cup Bracket 2014: Final Group Predictions for Day 2 Schedule

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World Cup Bracket 2014: Final Group Predictions for Day 2 Schedule
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The World Cup kicked off in style as Brazil pleased their raucous home support with a tough 3-1 win against a resilient Croatia team on Thursday.

Neymar lived up to his billing as the competition's poster boy with a well-timed brace to help his team out of a tricky position.

Now attention turns to Friday's action, which sees Group B begin as World Cup holders Spain take on 2010 finalists Netherlands.

Here is a list of matches scheduled for Day 2 of the tournament, with predictions for each game and how the tables might look at the end of the day: 

World Cup Fixtures: Friday, June 13
Group Match Time Venue Prediction
A Mexico v Cameroon 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET Natal 1-2
B Spain v Netherlands 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET Salvador 2-2
B Chile v Australia 11 p.m. BST/ 6 p.m. ET Cuiaba 3-0

FIFA.com

Group A Predicted Table
Team Played Won Draw Lost Goals + Goals - Pts
Brazil 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
Cameroon 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Mexico 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Croatia 1 0 0 1 1 3 0

FIFA.com

Group B Predicted Table
Team Played Won Draw Lost Goals + Goals - Pts
Chile 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
Netherlands 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
Spain 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
Australia 1 0 0 1 0 3 0

FIFA.com

 

Spain vs. Netherlands

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The game of the day sees a repeat of the World Cup final from four years ago, as reigning champions Spain meet Louis van Gaal's Netherlands. 

The South African finale was a huge disappointment to the watching world as the Dutch tried a physical and pragmatic approach to capture victory but were ultimately undone by the superior technical ability of the Spanish team.

Van Gaal's men now have a chance to exact revenge for their loss by taking the early lead in Group B with an opening-day win.

However, the Dutch are likely to be as defensive as they were in the final four years ago, with LvG expected to play a 5-3-2 formation. 

Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

The Netherlands coach has used a 4-3-3 system throughout his career but will try a new approach to get his side through a difficult group stage. He said recently, per Andy Hampson of Mail Online via the Press Association: 

Previously I was able to play 4-3-3, and we might have played more attractive, but I wanted to see the benefits of the other system. Against Spain and Chile, I think I'm going to play 5-3-2. The 4-4-2 is less promising.

Dutch superstar Arjen Robben was also frank in his assessment of the game and how his side need to play in this tournament. The winger was quoted by Mike Corder of the London Evening Standard saying:

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

I don't think we're capable at the moment of playing tiki-taka or beautiful football. In the end, it's all about the result. The counter attack is a very dangerous weapon that we're certainly going to use at this tournament.

Spain still have the core of the team that lifted the trophy against the Dutch four years ago. However, they are also four years older and players like Xavi and Sergio Busquets perhaps do not have the same allure they once had. They will have to employ a mixture of experience and youth, and try and strike a balance that drives them deep into the knockout stages.

This match could well be a stalemate as both teams try to avoid a defeat. However, if a goal occurs early in the game, expect to see a more entertaining affair between two sides who will know they must get off to a flyer to escape arguably the tournament's most difficult group.

Prediction: 2-2 draw

 

Mexico vs. Cameroon

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Two teams that scrapped through the qualification process face off against one another in Group A action, as Mexico face Cameroon.

Neither side have shown good form coming into the tournament, with Mexico's central striker Chicharito in the middle of an international goal drought.

The Mexicans have just come off the back of two friendly defeats against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal without scoring a goal, and they will enter this game with trepidation. 

Cameroon have not performed to the standard we have seen in previous years, but they will fancy their chances of toppling their opponents in the first match.

BT Sport's Derek Rae is convinced the African Nation will get off to a winning start, saying they will have too much for an ailing Mexico side:

If Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o can find his shooting boots early on, Mexico could find themselves facing a third-straight defeat. The Brazilian heat should not affect the Africans as much as the European nations, and they should be able to deal with anything Mexico throw at them.

Cameroon should edge this encounter, but expect the Mexicans to put up a fight.

Prediction: 2-1 win Cameroon

 

Chile vs. Australia

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

There is always one team that surprises the watching masses in the early stage of a World Cup and on this occasion that could well be Chile. On South American soil, and with a few catalysts in their line-up, Chile are a dangerous prospect for any team they face.

And Australia are likely not to have the quality needed to contain such a dangerous team.

In their ranks, Chile have the brilliance of Alexis Sanchez and arguably the best midfielder in world football currently, Arturo Vidal of Juventus.

Vidal has been recovering from a recent knee injury but is expected to start. The player was inspirational in Juve's march to the Serie A title this year and is expected to further swell his reputation at the World Cup.

Will Arturo Vidal score against Australia?

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The 27-year-old hit 18 goals in 45 Italian league and European games last season, per WhoScored.com, and his depth of quality will not be able to be stopped by an average Australian side. 

This match should turn out to be a simple procession for Chile as they look to get their campaign off to a flying start.

Prediction: 3-0 win Chile

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