Every team has played at least one game in the 2014 World Cup, and as the tournament moves into its second week, the major contenders for the title have already staked their claim with some strong performances.
Day 7 of the tournament sees a smattering of sides who will fancy their chances of going all the way in Brazil take to the field, as they look to make a big step toward qualification from the group stages and into the last 16.
In the fourth Group A fixture, Croatia will take on Cameroon, then the four teams making up Group B will also play out their second fixtures as we get set to enjoy enticing clashes between the Netherlands and Australia, then between Spain and Chile.
To ensure you don’t miss any of these vital matches, here are all the details you need on where to catch the game on TV, or if you prefer, via online streaming. We’ll also delve a little further into these matches and assess the chances of each team to advance, as they look to make their mark on the competition.
|Day 7 Fixtures: TV Info and Live Stream Details|
|Fixture||Time (BST)||TV Info||Live Stream|
|Netherlands vs. Australia||5 p.m||BBC (UK), ESPN (US)||BBC iPlayer (UK), WatchESPN (US)|
|Spain vs. Chile||8 p.m.||ITV (UK), ESPN (US)||ITV Player (UK), WatchESPN (US)|
|Cameroon vs. Croatia||11 p.m.||BBC (UK), ESPN (US)||BBC iPlayer (UK), WatchESPN (US)|
|BBC, ITV and ESPN|
Netherlands vs. Australia
The Dutch will be hoping to build on the momentum accrued in their first game, where they spanked Spain 5-1. The current world and European champions were blown away by Louis van Gaal’s team, and it’ll be the job of the Socceroos to halt the Oranje in their second group game.
Ange Postecoglou’s young Australian team battled well against Chile last time out, but they were a little unlucky, going down 3-1. There is minimal pressure on this team to emerge from an extremely difficult Group B, and they’ll be looking to revel in the knowledge that little is expected of them.
In reality, little was expected of the Dutch in the buildup to this tournament too, for Van Gaal has also selected a squad rife with young players. But suddenly, they’ve emerged as genuine contenders for the title after that special performance. Will they be able to handle the pressure of that tag?
Regardless of whether or not they can, the Dutch still should have too much quality for Australia. With the Socceroos likely to sit deep, the creative onus will be on the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Jonathan de Guzman, who will need to prise open a tight defence and make chances for the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.
Prediction: Netherlands 2-0 Australia
Spain vs. Chile
The Spanish won the last World Cup after losing their first game, and they will be hoping to repeat the feat in Brazil. But if they’re to maintain any hope of doing so, they need to beat a very capable Chile outfit.
Vicente del Bosque looks set to ring the changes for this one, according to Sid Lowe of The Guardian, and the legendary boss will be hoping the likes of Javi Martinez, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro can give the starting XI a refreshing edge. You have to say, following their deplorable performance against the Dutch, it’s an edge that they’re in desperate need of.
Despite their humbling from the Netherlands, Bleacher Report's Cristian Nyari still expects Spain to qualify:
Although German football expert Jan Aage Fjortoft isn't quite so sure:
Chile will most likely operate in a comparable stylistic manner to the Oranje. They’ll do their best to remain compact at the back, but when they win the ball, they’ll spring forward with pace and purpose, most notably through the scintillating attacking duo of Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez.
These two teams have players who look capable of causing a host of problems for each other's defence, and as such we should be in store for a wonderful, attacking contest. But they’re difficult to split, and as such, a draw could well be on the cards here. That result would leave Spain’s World Cup destiny out of their own hands in the final group game.
Prediction: Spain 2-2 Chile
Cameroon vs. Croatia
Both of these sides lost their opening fixtures and will know three points are absolutely crucial here if they’re to harbour any hopes of progressing to the last 16.
If Cameroon are to triumph, then they’ll have to do so without their captain and talisman Samuel Eto’o, who will miss this clash because of injury, as confirmed by the official World Cup Twitter account:
That’s very bad news for the Indomitable Lions, who lacked any kind of invention or inspiration in their opening fixture against Mexico. A 1-0 loss might imply a tight game, but the Africans were second-best throughout and would have lost by more if it were not for some especially peculiar refereeing decisions. Against Croatia, they’ll be facing opposition of a very high standing too.
Niko Kovac’s team were also foiled by some poor officiating after matching the host nation for long spells in the tournament opener. And while their Day 7 opponents will be without their star centre-forward, the Croatians will be able to welcome the prolific Mario Mandzukic back into the team. That will give Kovac’s side the edge in this one, setting up an enticing final group game against Mexico.
Prediction: Croatia 3-0 Cameroon