With the 2014 Brazil World Cup starting tonight, it’s time to take a look at the players the Oranje should fear. This selection of three players have to potential to cause Holland a few problems in Group B.

  • By Oliver Miller
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spain costaWe’ll start with the biggest nation, Spain. Playing Spain is hard enough for any nation, but the Oranje will want revenge after what happened in the 2010 final. What is there about Spain to no one doesn’t already know? Well, there have been Spanish players in and out of form this season.

We’ll focus on Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid. Costa is arguably the star of La Liga this season, in which his club Atletico Madrid secured their first title since 1996. In a league normally dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Costa has been the player people have been raving about.

His return of 27 league goals is only one behind Messi and four behind Ronaldo, with Costa being fed by another promising Spaniard, Koke. The powerful striker has twice signed for Atletico, with two varying levels of success. During his first two and a half year stint, Costa failed to play a single game for Atletico. However, three loan spells meant he was getting game time away from Madrid. His second spell was much more successful, with 20 goals in his first season back.

Holland’s back-five will have to be at their absolute best in order to stop the Spanish striker, who is touted to join Chelsea in the summer. He is very clever, makes superb off-the-ball runs and his finishing is impecable. Costa is almost guarenteed to be start for the Spanish national team, thus disappointing Brazilian football fans after choosing to play for Spain, despite being born in Brazil. If Dutch fans want some positivity then Costa has a terribly short fuse and can be easily wound up, a tactic Holland may have to use in order to stop him.

sanchez chiTime to move on and focus on another team in Group B, Chile. A South American participant in the group which could prove decisive considering the World Cup is being held in Brazil. Chile are deceivingly good. They stay below the radar despite having world class players in their squad. Rated 14th in the FIFA rankings, one place above Holland in 15th, their success is rarely brought to light.

A recent victory over England at Wembley showed just how dangerous they can be, with arguably their best player Alexis Sánchez stealing the show with two goals in a 2-0 victory. Sánchez’s pace and trickery will cause any defence havoc and he is our second player to feature on the list, and the second from La Liga. The 25-year-old winger has been capped 67 times by his country, contributing 22 goals. Sánchez’s confidence will be sky high coming off the back of a productive season for Barcelona, scoring 21 goals and providing 15 assists. Signed by Barcelona back in 2011, Sánchez has found it difficult to shine at the club due to the extremely talented players surrounding him. However, this season he flourished, becoming more and more important to his team.

Sánchez is not the only player Holland should look out for. Big names such as Vidal, Juve’s midfield maestro and Vargas, Valencia’s on-loan striker can also cause problem when on form. Alexis Sánchez remains the key man for Chile, whether it’s on either flank or through the middle, Holland must pay close attention to the South American genius.

oar ausWe now round up group B with Australia, a nation with no hope of getting through the group. Despite this, the Socceroos still have some talents players, and FC Utrecht’s Tommy Oar takes the limelight here.

Oar signed for FC Utrecht as an 18-year-old starlet from Brisbane Roar after a string of impressive performances. Fans of Utrecht may have expected more for the young Aussie who was touted to have a big future. Still young aged 22, Oar endured a sticky season in the Eredivisie, only scoring once in 31 appearances. There are bigger names in the Australian squad such as Cahill and Bresciano but on the back of missing out on the World Cup in South Africa, Oar will feel he now has his chance to shine.

It’s worth noting that Oar has a feirce strike on him and has scored one or two screamers in his short career so far. I’m sticking my neck out on this one and I’m sure Dutch football fans will want to see young Tommy turn in some big performances, so long as Holland aren’t affected. Lets face it though, he’ll only get three games to do it.

With the individuals out the way it’s time to focus on Holland’s (realistic) chances of making it through the group stages. The first game against Spain will decide who finishes top. A grudge match and the whole world will be watching. Iniesta broke Dutch hearts four years ago, in the same game that Nigel de Jong almost broke Alonso’s, and now Oranje will be looking for revenge. Cillessen will need to be in top form to keep out Spain, and Holland will need van Persie and Robben playing at their best. It can be done though that’s why in tipping Holland to top the group. Chile will prove difficult and Australia should be easy. Three wins out of three in the group stages, am I being too optimistic? Probably, but negativity will get you nowhere.

Oliver Miller (4 Posts)