The Netherlands return to World Cup action against Australia on Wednesday, fresh after walloping current champions Spain 5-1, knowing victory will all but confirm their progression into the knockout stages.
Vicente del Bosque's battered Spanish side need to dust themselves off during the second round of Group B matches, which pits the Europeans against Jorge Sampaoli's dangerous Chile outfit.
Group A also kicks back into life, with the day's late match placing Cameroon and Croatia in a must-win situation.
Let's take a look at the Day 7 schedule, complete with TV and live-stream information and, of course, those all-important predictions.
|World Cup 2014: Day 7 Fixtures|
|Date||Match||Time (ET)||Time (BST)||TV Info||Live Stream||Prediction|
|June 18||Group B: Australia vs. Netherlands||12 p.m.||5 p.m.||ESPN/ITV||WatchESPN/ITV Player||0-4|
|June 18||Group B: Spain vs. Chile||3 p.m||8 p.m.||ESPN/BBC One||WatchESPN/BBC iPlayer||2-1|
|June 18||Group A: Cameroon vs. Croatia||6 p.m||11 p.m.||ESPN/ITV||WatchESPN/ITV Player||0-2|
Dutch Time to Shine
The Netherlands were given an outside chance to capture their first World Cup trophy win before Brazil 2014 kicked off. Notching a quintet of memorable goals beyond Spain has changed that. Louis van Gaal's side posted a stunning second-half display against the world champions—a performance laced with creativity, confidence and the fast-paced attacking play—meaning Australia better beware.
Ange Postecoglou's team grew into their opening fixture with Chile, but a two-minute spell of madness saw Sampaoli's men wreak havoc. The Socceroos are going to find it difficult to feed Tim Cahill with crosses if Ron Vlaar and the Dutch defence dominate like they did against La Furia Roja.
Australia must slow the game down when in possession, if they are to stop Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie from hitting their stride. The former only seems to be getting more incisive as his career advances, noted by Goal India:
Van Gaal's men can play with freedom when they step onto the Estadio Beira-Rio pitch. All the pressure remains on Group B's other competitors, particularly Del Bosque's strugglers. Should Spain lose, they will be eliminated before the tournament is one-week old.
With freedom granted after a terrific opening performance, we can expect the Netherlands to run riot against Australia's hard-working ranks.
Now or Never for Croatia
Fred's penalty-winning tumble was the key moment in Croatia's loss to Brazil. Unfair loss, most would say. Yet, the host nation's inability to beat Mexico means Niko Kovac's side can now snatch second place if they topple Cameroon.
The arithmetic is simple. Croatia need two wins to steal the second spot away from Mexico, who will take great heart from a fantastic performance against Brazil, and only need a draw in their final game.
Miguel Herrera has the team playing ambitious, fast-paced attacking football, but he knows Croatia boast one of the best central midfield duos in the tournament, with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic lining up alongside each other.
While Croatia's immediate task is to dispatch a Cameroon side who played poorly during their tie with El Tri, they will have one eye on beating the currently invincible Guillermo Ochoa, who put in a stunning shift against between the Mexico sticks against Brazil, highlighted by Squawka:
It's a case of one step at a time for Kovac's men, whose ball control and spread of talent should see them beyond a physical Cameroon side. Considering Mario Mandzukic is "back from suspension," per Zoran Milosavljevic of the Daily Mail, there's plenty of positives for Croatia heading into the next clash.
The 2014 World Cup has provided plenty of memorable entertainment so far. With big-hitters such as the Netherlands, Spain and Chile lining up on Day 7, the fun isn't going to stop just yet.
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