World Cup daily: Day 2

World Cup daily: Day 2
June 13, 2014, 10:00 am
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Match of the Day: Spain vs. Netherlands (Group B), 3 p.m. ET -- We are all treated to a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final in the group stage. The two soccer powerhouses were drawn into the same group and meet on the second match day. Spain, who won in 2010, come in atop the FIFA rankings heading into the World Cup with a largely unchanged squad from 2010. They did add striker Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, for now) who decided to play for Spain over Brazil. 

The Netherlands, meanwhile, have dropped to 15th in the FIFA rankings after a disastrous run at the 2012 European Championships and overall lackluster play since. The Dutch team cruised through qualifying, but had the benefit of one of the weakest groups in qualifying, but have looked uninspiring in warm-up matches. They were mired by controversy and in-fighting at the Euro 2012 and will look to avoid that in Brazil. 

Player of the Day: F Alexis Sanchez, Chile

Sanchez should provide the spark necessary for Chile to roll over Australia (6 p.m. ET) in the evening game. After a successful season at Barcelona, Sanchez will look to make a big impact in this tournament, and what better way than facing the weakest team in your group in the first game. Anything less than 3 points will be a disappointment for Chile.

Best of the Rest: Mexico faces off against Cameroon (12 p.m. ET) in the early game, marking the first game for a CONCACAF member at the 2014 World Cup. El Tri need a good start in the group after seeing how well Croatia hung with the hosts from Brazil. 

Day 1 Review: The hosts, Brazil, opened the 2014 World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Croatia, but it wasn't without controversy. Brazil was awarded a penalty in the 71st minute after Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (Southampton) looked to take Fred (Fluminese) to the ground in the box. He didn't. It was a colossal flop by Fred and the referee missed it. Much like the referee made a judgement call that negated a game-tying goal from Croatia. To top it all off, in the build up to Brazil's third goal it looked like the referee missed a foul on Croatia that would have ended the Brazilian attack before Oscar (Chelsea) could put the nail in Croatia's coffin in the 91st minute. 

Football Follies: A week after USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the United States had no shot at winning the World Cup in 2014, Mexico's coach, Miguel Herrera claimed, "We can win the World Cup." Ironic, since it took the United States defeating Panama for Mexico to even make the World Cup. I'm sure you'll beat Brazil in Brazil.

Hopefully this referee situation from the Brazil-Croatia match doesn't taint an already fragile faith in FIFA given the bribery claims against certain members in regards to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. That was an atrocious excuse for refereeing, and hopefully it is the last of it in Brazil.