Every one of the 32 teams in Brazil for the World Cup have played their opening matches, meaning Day 7 guarantees for the groups involved to start taking shape.
Brazil and Mexico are the only countries to have played twice, as they faced off Tuesday, but Wednesday features the other match in Group A between Cameroon and Croatia. Both lost their openers and will be vying to bounce back strong.
Group B will also start to play itself out on Wednesday. The Netherlands could very well take a stranglehold on the group before the day's over, and Spain may very well see their chances of advancing start to slip away.
Let's break down the latest group standings and look forward to all of the Day 7 action.
|2014 World Cup Group Standings|
|Day 7 Fixtures + Predictions|
|12 p.m.||Australia vs. Netherlands||ESPN||1-3|
|3 p.m.||Cameroon vs. Croatia||ESPN||0-2|
|6 p.m.||Spain vs. Chile||ESPN||2-0|
|FIFA.com, all matches on June 18|
Australia vs. Netherlands
Odds: Netherlands 1-4 to win, Australia 7-1 to win, draw 6-1
Australia's road in Brazil just keeps getting harder and harder. After being outmatched in the opener against Chile 3-1, they move on to face the mighty Netherlands in Wednesday's early match.
The Dutch are just rolling after dismantling Spain by the score of 5-1, and after scoffing at the competition of the world champions, it's hard to see anything stopping them from picking up a convincing three points here.
Australia's only real shot at a result is trying to find Tim Cahill in a scoring area, which is how they scored their only goal thus far. Even if an improbable goal comes, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will get a handful of chances and only have to put through a couple to guarantee a Netherlands win.
Cameroon vs. Croatia
Odds: Croatia 4-5 to win, Cameroon 11-4 to win, draw 7-2
Croatia scored the first goal of the 2014 World Cup, then allowed Brazil to rattle off three straight. With no points after a distasteful opening defeat, the Croatians will have some fresh bodies for their second match against Cameroon on Wednesday.
According to FIFA.com, Croatia's Danijel Pranjic (injury) and Mario Mandzukic (suspension) are both set to return to the starting XI against Cameroon. Both were absent from the 3-1 defeat to Brazil and were noticeably missed.
With both teams having lost their opener, there's no doubt that both teams are playing for their World Cup lives.
"It's all-or-nothing for both teams. The losers will pack their bags and go home. We have to be ready for everything and play like it was our last match," Pranjic told FIFA.com.
With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic already in the fold, the return of these two standouts will bolster the Croatian attack. Cameroon have Samuel Eto'o but not much else, and their defense crumbled for much of the 90 minutes against Chile.
Spain vs. Chile
Odds: Spain 50-91 to win, Chile 4-1 to win, draw 13-4
In a shocking result early on in Brazil, Spain went down to the Netherlands and will have to rebound quickly as they face Chile on Wednesday.
Their opener was about as demoralizing as it could've possibly been imagined for Spain, letting up goal after goal to a potent attack and being broken apart on defense.
But Spain don't seem to be wrinkling after the early defeat, as told by Juan Mata's comments in this video:
It's not surprising to be getting a sense of cool-headedness from the Spain camp. Sure, they were beaten sourly in arguably the most improbable 90 minutes we've seen thus far in Brazil. But this is a champion we're talking about and one that is used to getting back up when it is knocked down.
In fact, in 2010, Spain saw a similar occurrence. They lost 1-0 to Switzerland in the group opener and went on to win the whole thing.
This year will be a much tougher go than it was then, with Chile coming off an impressive win to open up and threatening to take an insurmountable lead if they were to take a point or three from Spain. But while the Chileans have a speedy, potent attack, Spain are ready to prove the five Dutch goals were largely flukes and will see their world-class defense make a statement after an embarrassing opener.
*All odds are courtesy of Odds Shark
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