The first group of death for the 2014 World Cup was selected early. Reigning world champions Spain are joined by 2010 World Cup runner-up Netherlands, Chile and Australia.
La Furia Roja will be seeking their third major trophy in as many competitions when they go to Brazil. The already loaded team boasting the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique in the back half of the squad will prove difficult to not only get past, but to even find opportunities to score.
Couple that with a plethora of midfield options including Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and Andras Iniesta, along with new striking toy Diego Costa, and the Spanish are going to be difficult to stop from securing back-to-back World Cup titles.
After finishing second in 2010 and following that up with a pathetic showing in the 2012 UEFA European Championship, the Dutch will be out for revenge. Facing Spain in the first match will be a good indicator of where the team is at and whether or not they can make another deep run. Veterans Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart will look to guide the Oranje into the knockout stages and further.
Add in promising young players like Leroy Fer, Kevin Strootman, Memphis Depay and Jordy Clasie, and the Dutch may be in store for a repeat of 2010 … only with a better outcome.
The Chileans are led by Barcelona ace Alexis Sanchez and Juventus stalwart Arturo Vidal. These two, backed by a mixture of youth and experience, make Chile a team that can surprise some in the group stage. Lacking a standout goalscorer may cause some issues, but it doesn’t matter where the goals come from — just that they come.
No team drew a shorter straw than the Socceroos. Australia has to face three teams ranked in the top-15 and three teams that can easily make a run to the World Cup final. New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill will be competing in what is likely his final international competition and will hope his team can at least put on a good showing for the country.