One of the most impressive teams of World Cup 2014 so far—the Netherlands—takes to the pitch again on Day 7 to face Australia after beating Spain 5-1 in its opener.
The Socceroos are likely facing an early exit from the competition and a convincing defeat to Louis van Gaal's side on Wednesday, having lost their opening game 3-1 to Chile.
Vicente del Bosque's side has a vital encounter with Chile that could decide its fate for the rest of the tournament—a loss would be catastrophic.
Meanwhile, Croatia will look to get their first win in a Group A encounter with Cameroon.
Read on for full television information and start times for all three of the matches on Day 7.
|World Cup 2014: Day 7 Schedule|
|Date||Fixture||Time||TV Info||Live Stream|
|June 18||Cameroon vs. Croatia||11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET||ITV1/ESPN||ITV website/ESPN Player|
|June 18||Spain vs. Chile||8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET||BBC1/ESPN||BBC website/ESPN Player|
|June 18||Australia vs. Netherlands||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||ITV1/ESPN||ITV website/ESPN Player|
Netherlands Must Build on Flying Start
No one could have predicted what happened in Salvador on Friday, the world champions being mauled 5-1 by an unfancied Netherlands side.
But it did happen, and Van Gaal's side should now be seen as a genuine contender to go far in Brazil and maybe even to win the whole thing.
Australia offer a completely different challenge on Wednesday: a team expected to lose that will be desperately trying to keep its hopes of staying in the tournament alive.
They put in a decent shift in their loss to Chile, per Eurosport, but the Oranje will likely prove too much for Tim Cahill and his team.
The 34-year-old bagged the Socceroos' goal against Chile and is seen as the main threat, according to Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong, per the Australian Associated Press (via The Guardian):
He's a terrific player that always gives his heart and his all on the pitch, for his country or his club. We have to be careful because the timing to the ball with his headers is one of the best. He is one of the best timers I have seen from all the players around the world. So we have to take care of that very well. We have to take this game very serious.
However, with quality in the likes of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie—who both bagged two against Spain—it would be a second huge surprise in Group B if Australia take anything off the Dutch.
A convincing win would breed even greater confidence for the Dutch as they head into the final group game against Chile and on into the knockout rounds, where they will likely face Croatia or Mexico.
Spain Must Reaffirm Their Quality
The fallout for Spain from the Dutch defeat is perhaps most stark in their altered standing in the world game.
Previously, they were seen as an indomitable powerhouse—and rightly so having won three consecutive major tournaments—but not so any more, per Jonathan Liew in The Telegraph:
Chile will have no fear when they take on del Bosque's outfit, and it may be a very new-look team, with wholesale changes likely for Spain.
Alexis Sanchez will be key for Chile. At Barcelona, he has played with and against many of the Spanish team. He bagged a goal against the Aussies and could cause a real upset if he is on form on Day 7.
Three Points a Must for Croatia
Croatia will be looking to make their quality count against Cameroon—who were poor in their opening encounter to Mexico.
Mario Mandzukic returns from suspension, and Niko Kovac's side will hope not to have the referee against it as it seemingly did in its opening loss to Brazil, per CNN's John Sinnott:
Croatia are certainly strong enough to make it to the last 16—with the midfield prowess of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic—and will want a convincing win over Cameroon to get their World Cup going.