Analysis of the first round of fixtures of the World Cup contenders
The biggest sporting spectacle in the world has kicked-off. 32 Nations. 736 Players. 64 Matches. 1 Dream - to be crowned World Champions. Which team will conquer the world - Will the defending champions Germany become the first team to retain the title in 56 years and win a record-equalling 5th title? Or the record 5 time champions Brazil win a record-extending 6th title? Or France with the arguably most talented squad in the tournament end their 20-year wait? Or the formidable 2010 champions Spain regain their glory and win a 2nd title? Or Argentina with their deadly attack end their 32-year long wait for a world title? Or Belgium with a brilliant set of players defy the odds to win it? Or will one of the dark horses like England or Portugal pull off an upset?
The opening match of the group stages has come to an end. So let us look back at how the contenders for the tournament have fared during their opening game to give us an insight of where they should improve.
Spain - Group B
The 2010 World Champions started their campaign with a 3-3 draw against Portugal. Without any doubt, it was the most exciting match of the World Cup so far. Spain was certainly excellent in attack against a solid Portuguese side. Diego Costa showed why he can lead the line for Spain with 2 goals, both were very well taken by the Atletico Madrid striker. Nacho later redeemed himself with a stunning half-volley but the build-up to the goal was what makes you watch it over and over again as it looked like the Spain team of the past when they use to carve the opposition open with their passing.
The defense is still a concern though. Exposed brutally by the Dutch and Chile last time around, they were a bit better this time but they were caught on the counter a few times by Portugal. Fortunately, they didn't score and it kept Spain in the game. The fumble by De Gea raised a few eyebrows as expected but he'll certainly regain his confidence and be back to his best. Azpilicueta would certainly be a much solid option ahead of Nacho at right-back as he is a very reliable defender. Let's see what new coach Fernando Hierro comes up within their next game against Iran.
Performance Rating - 7/10