After their 5-1 demolition of reigning champions Spain – Holland can put one foot in the last 16 with what looks a reasonably straight forward tie against an Australian defence with more holes than the BBC’s punditry team.
Topping Group B and avoiding a possible last 16 smash-up with Brazil may not be the prize it first appeared though. The hosts’ lumbering 0-0 draw with Mexico last night also leaves the winners of Cameroon and Croatia (11pm) in with a squeak of extending their stay in Brazil should the final group games not go to script.
But the most intrigue lies in the clash of the tiki-taka practitioners Spain and Chile at the Maracana Stadium in Rio. After a couple of howlers against the Dutch, Iker Casillas retaining the No.1 jersey looks as likely as the media being invited to the next Croatian skinny-dipping part. A defeat tonight means El Roja will arrive home before the postcards.
Australia v Holland – 5pm | Porto Alegre
- Holland could book their place in the last 16 if they win and Spain don’t beat Chile.
- While the sides have never met in the World Cup – the Aussies haven’t lost in three friendly games to the Dutch masters (W1,D2) although with Nigel de Jong in the side this should be anything but friendly.
- Tim Cahill’s goal against Chile saw him become the first Australian to score in three consecutive World Cup finals.
Spain v Chile – 8pm | Rio
- Spain are unbeaten in their 10 meetings with Chile. (W8, D2)
- The sides have met twice at the World Cup finals with El Rojo winning 2-0 (in this stadium in 1950) and 2-1 in South Africa 2010.
- Chile’s three goals against the Aussies were their first in the World Cup finals since 1962.
Cameroon v Croatia – 11pm | Manaus
- These sides have never faced each other in international competition.
- Cameroon have only won one of their last 14 World Cup games – losing nine and drawing four.
- The 3-1 defeat to Brazil was Croatia’s first loss in six games.
- Whether new Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettin does in fact speak English fluently should be revealed after Tottenham’s opening game of the Premier League on August 16 against the new-look, attack-minded West Ham. Former Spurs and West Ham boss but definitely not a wheeler dealer Harry Redknapp marks his and QPR’s return to the Premier League with a trip to Hull.
- Oop North, PL newbies Burnley face a baptism of fire when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea visit Turf Moor while Manuel Pellegrini could be in for some more elder abuse as Manchester City kick-off their title defence at Newcastle United.
- And with two Dutch managers now plying their trade in the top tier – Louis Van Gaal’s has a manageable first game in charge against Swansea at Old Trafford while Ronald Koeman takes his Southampton side to last year’s runners-up Liverpool.