2014 World Cup: 5 Group Stage Rivalries To Be Reignited

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5 Rivalries That Will Highlight the Group Stage

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Photo courtesy of the official Facebook page of FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola

The World Cup group stage always brings us brilliant matches to look forward to, but there are usually only a few. Not only are they made up of nations who are vastly talented, but usually these sides do not face off until later on in the knockout rounds of the tourney. Well this year we are in for a treat as we already know which teams will be facing off.

When it comes to these sorts of games we are happy just to watch some of the very best players represent their nations against some of the other best in the world. However, come next June we are in for a very wonderful treat that proves the beauty of having the World Cup every four years. Why? Because the group stage games are already guaranteed to reignite some old rivalries.

When we watch club soccer we always look forward to the derby games that will force the best two sides in the league to face off. These are matches between Barcelona-Real Madrid, Manchester United-Manchester City and AC Milan-Inter Milan just to name a few. When those sides meet the entire world is watching for the action and bitterness of the game that almost always provides a fight.

This year we will have rematches from previous World Cup as well as EURO tournaments. Some will be from past group stages, quarterfinals, semifinals and there is even one WC final. That's right, folks; these nations will all get a chance at revenge early on in the groups.

If you ask me, that is the perfect way to start a tournament. Now the time has finally come to find out which nations will be in revengeful matches.

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5. England-Italy

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Photo courtesy of te English Football Team's official Facebook page

The last time these two nations met the game brought no goals in 120 minutes of play. Therefore, the Italians won it all on penalty kicks at 4-2, en route to their EURO 2012 final game loss to Spain.

The game was played extremely sloppily by both sides as there was no offensive momentum whatsoever since they were both extremely cautious. They were obviously afraid to make a mistake so they ended up taking a chance at penalties.

Regardless, these two are now much more offensively ready than they were a year ago and will have a bit more of a youthful team to make sure they have enough energy to constantly attack or score from the counter.

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4. Portugal-Germany

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Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

These two played a very tough game that took a second half header from Germany's Mario Gomez to grab all three points in the EURO 2012 group stage match. Both sides were vastly talented, but only one side was able to find the back of the net and hold the other scoreless.

The truth of the matter is that the Germans can still defeat Portugal because they know how to play good defense and hit hard from the counter. On the other hand, Portugal are all about attacking as defending is truly their least favorite aspect of the game.

Germany are talented in every position whereas Portugal will most likely have to rely on the heroics of the world's very best attacker, Cristiano Ronaldo. If he plays well and his teammates can keep up they can win this game by at least one goal.

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3. Spain-Chile

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GEPA/USA TODAY Sports

Spain defeated Chile by a score of 2-1 in the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup that took place in South Africa. They had a 2-0 lead from the first half so Chile's second half consolation was never going to be enough.

They did also meet in a recent friendly out in Geneva, Switzerland where the sides shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw. Both sides had technique, strength, speed and an attacking prowess about them that threatened one another throughout the 90 minutes that were played.

Next summer we will be watching two sides who will have to show no fear in a game where they will both want to win big time. This will be a bit more special for Chile because if they win they will avenge that 2010 group loss and grab all three points.

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2. Brazil-Mexico

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

These two nations met in the 2012 Olympic Final with the latter upsetting the hosts by a score of 2-1. That is right, folks; Mexico defeated Brazil to win Olympic Gold on Brazilian soil. This is a result that was never going to be expected, but it certainly has been recorded into the history books.

This better be fresh on the Brazilians' minds if they want to play a heartfelt game against one of the very best from the CONCACAF region. Even though they were the Olympic teams, both had a lot of talent, speed and ability to play very well. Now, they will be at full strength and ready to put on a performance for the ages.

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1. Holland-Spain

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Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to be the most anticipated rivalry renewal of the entire tourney's Group Stage, as Spain defeated the Dutch by a score of 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final.

That game was tightly-knit from the beginning as both sides attacked, defended and had to pray to the gods that their goalkeepers did not make any errors. In fact, it took a winning goal from Andres Iniesta four minutes from the end of extra time to win it all. The Dutch had a defender ejected just minutes before.

This will simply have to be fresh in the minds of the Dutch as they should truly believe that they can defeat this Spanish side who still rely on the old Tiki-Taka style of play. The Dutch are younger, fresher, stronger and faster than ever before. Therefore, they will be even tougher to defeat this time around.

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