For many Group B has claimed the title of “the Group of Death.
It certainly looks like that for the Ozzies.
Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
At first look it seems it will be a straight fight for the top spot for the two 2010 finalists : Spain and Holland but that is to severely underestimate Chile.
Chile had a very impressive qualifying campaign. Despite starting poorly they rallied to claim some impressive away wins which contributed to a 3rd place finish in the CONMEBOL table, ahead of both Ecuador and Uruguay.
In recent years they have garnered a lot of respect for their style of play, thanks mainly to a high pressing game (favoured by successful ex-coach Marco “Loco” Bielsa) that was introduced by Jorge Sampaoli. Although “La Roja” do not have the strength in depth of bigger South American nations they can count upon two fantastic forwards in Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) and and Eduardo Vargas (Valencia). Added to this they have various layers dotted around Seria A and the EPL but their real strength comes from home based players which regularly compete with Universidad Catolica, Colo Colo and O’Higgins in latter stages of the Libertadores and Sudamerica.
For many Chile are this tournament’s dark horses if not for triumph but to reach at least the quarter finals. They will certainly need to be on form to beat either the Dutch or Spanish but it is not beyond them to take 1st spot in the group.