Football: Spain-Netherlands repeat dominates Friday World Cup games

Football: Spain-Netherlands repeat dominates Friday World Cup games
Netherlands Coach Louis Van Gaal

RIO DE JANEIRO - Defending champions Spain take on the Netherlands in a rerun of the 2010 final that dominates Friday's World Cup games.

Australia enter the tournament against South American dark horses Chile in the same Group B battle, while Mexico play Cameroon in Group A.

Andres Iniesta's goal was all that separated Spain and the Netherlands on the scoresheet four years ago. But the Dutch, who were given nine of the 14 yellow cards handed out, were much criticised for their negative tactics.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal admits that Spain may still be playing the better football now, but insists that revenge is still possible.

"There is only one way to block the Spanish, you have to defend in a very compact way," van Gaal said on the eve of the game in Salvador.

"Then when you get the ball, you have to have a fast, well executed game.

"This will not be easy as Spain also defend very well. But I have an iron belief that we can produce something special tomorrow, even if you have to be conscious that Spain play perhaps the best football." Everyone is looking for cracks in the Spanish side that has won two European Championships on the trot as well as the World Cup. Coach Vicente del Bosque says they do not exist.

Del Bosque could name a side with only one change from the one that won the 2012 Euro final. He has only one major decision over whether to use Diego Costa or Cesc Fabregas as his main attacker.

"We have a mature team and young players. We are not afraid of anything and we are in our prime," he said Netherlands will be relying on the veteran strike force of Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, who has been rejuvenated by van Gaal.

Spain's midfielder Xavi Hernandez acknowledged the threat from the trio but stressed Spain's traditional dominance of possession.

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