Netherlands v Chile – World Cup preview

Watch the Group B clash live on ITV on Monday 23 June

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Netherlands v Chile (Group B) 4pm (k/o 5pm) ITV 

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This was supposed to decide second place in Group B but, with Spain having imploded and both these teams already through, the prize is now different. The winners should get themselves a very winnable Round of 16 tie against Mexico or Croatia, instead of the hosts and likely Group A winners, Brazil.

Both teams so far have pressed opponents furiously and have excelled at releasing runners behind defences, while risking opposition attackers doing the same. The Netherlands ripped Spain apart late on but could have been buried before then, and needed a half-time change of formation to quell a crazy toe-to-toe slugfest against Australia. Chile ripped Australia apart early on but nearly threw the win away, then produced an astonishingly energetic performance against Spain, attacking judiciously and harrying the Spanish midfielders until they simply gave up.

So this could be a spectacular goalfest. There are a few reasons why it might not be, however. The Dutch have a superior goal difference and thus only need a draw; manager Louis van Gaal will also be aware that, especially in the absence of the suspended Robin van Persie, he has the less gifted team here. Squaring up to the Chilean streetfighters might be unwise. If anyone can conceive of a plan to nullify them, van Gaal can.

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Chile must prove that their sensational win against Spain was not a fluke and has not left them mentally or physically spent. Previously they had a reputation for starting brilliantly but losing their way as games progressed; have they finally matured? They have no enforced absentees but central playmaker Arturo Vidal, who played against Spain but is nursing an injury, might be rested.