The first two matches of the last round kick off simultaneously at noon. Each group will play its final two games concurrently to minimize the likelihood that any match should be meaningless by the time it begins. Also because this happened.
In this match, undefeated Holland (who have a goal difference of +5) meet undefeated Chile (+4). Buckle your seatbelts.
What’s At Stake
Both nations are qualified already, but neither wants to face Brazil in the second round, and while the hosts’ Group A isn’t settled yet, they’ll probably be the prize for the runner-up in Group B. Holland’s superior goal difference means the Dutch need only a draw to win the group, while Chile need to win.
Chile play a fast-paced, attacking 3-4-3. They beat Spain without center forward Jorge Valdivia, who usually plays the “False Nine” role. Arturo Vidal played in his place, but it looks like 23-year-old Felipe Gutierrez will get the nod today. He’ll try to drag the young Dutch defenders out of place to allow space for wingers Alexis Sanchez (pictured above) and Eduardo Vargas. Since the Netherlands play with three defenders, they’ll need help and discipline or they could be overwhelmed.
Holland play a similar 3-4-1-2, with Wesley Sneijder behind point man Robin van Persie and the roaming Arjen Robben. As they proved against Spain, Holland can be devastating on the counterattack because of the passing of Sneijder, the finishing of van Persie, and the speed of Robben. Robin van Persie is suspended, but the Dutch should have space to play in today as Chile hunt for the three points they need.
Players to Watch
Holland: Sneijder, the Dutch number ten. Holland’s counterattacks are likely to go through him. If he plays decent balls to Jeremain Lens and Robben, Chile may be carved open.
Chile: Gutierrez. His movement will be crucial today.
Jon Champion and Stewart Robson. All English today.
Match-specific Drinking Games
Booked: Take a shot whenever a player receives a yellow card. How drunk? Strong buzz. There will be plenty of so-called “professional fouls” as the game gets stretched. Also, rabid animal Nigel de Jong is playing.
Pet Peeve: Take a shot whenever Stewart Robson accuses a player of “going down easily” or “looking for the foul.” How drunk? You’ll spend as much time on the floor as Arjen Robben.
Surprise: Take a shot any time Robben dribbles the ball to his right as he takes on an opponent. How drunk? Not drunk. You needed a light one after the first two.
Holland: Genever gin.
– Read my general World Cup watching guide.
– Check out Zonal Marking, my favorite tactics website.
– See a commentary schedule or a review of each commentator.
– See where I’m getting my national drink recommendations.
– Check out other match previews from this group: Spain vs. Chile, Australia vs. Holland, Chile vs. Australia, Spain vs. Holland
Picture credit: dailystar.co.uk