Group B: land of contrasts. It wasn’t, might we date to venture, supposed to end up like this. Going into the first of the final round of group matches, it was supposed to be all about the tension and the excitement of two simultaneous matches being played, but the way in which this group has panned out means that we kick off the final round of group matches – and the sleep deprived amongst us are at least cheering the fact that the last of the eleven o’clock kick offs has now come and gone – with matches that could, if viewed through one prism, be viewed as dead rubbers.
Viewed through another, however, there is interest to be had here. We’ll be focusing on the match between the match between the Netherlands and Chile. Both teams have maximum points so far so something has to give, but with hosts Brazil facing one of these two in the next round of the competition and no-one yet knowing where they will finish in their group yet (although with Brazil playing the so far terrible Cameroon tonight we can probably hazard a guess), the question becomes one of which coach may stick and which may twist.
The other match may go some way towards establishing what sort of psychological damage has been done to Spain as a result of their recent shellackings at the hands of the aforementioned two. They play Australia in the group’s effective third-place play-off. Join Richard Grinham and I shortly before five to see how it all plays out.