If history is anything to go by, then the home fans should enjoy watching Luiz Felipe Scolari’s charges in the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in Sao Paulo, Fortaleza and Brasilia. A Seleção have a good record against all three opponents, although one of them has caused problems of late.
Brazil have played all three sides in past World Cups. The Opening Match in 2014 against Croatia is a repeat of Brazil’s first game in 2006, in Germany. On that occasion Kaka’s goal gave victory to the Pentacampeões, who also have fond memories of Cameroon. In the United States, in 1994, goals from Romario, Bebeto and Marcio Santos saw Brazil overcome the Africans 3-0 and book their place in the knockout stage of a tournament that would end with Dunga hoisting the trophy aloft. As for Mexico, it will be the fourth time the two nations have met each other in World Cup history. The record so far shows three Brazilian victories with 11 goals scored and none conceded. Spain and Australia have never previously met at senior level, while the same can be said for Chile and the Netherlands.
Spain will head to Brazil as defending champions. Remaining loyal to the style and players that have allowed them to dominate the global and European scenes over the last five years, La Roja won the only qualification pool (aside from the South American group) to contain two world champions. In what was the smallest section in Europe with only five teams, the Spanish led the way from France thanks to a record of six wins and two draws, conceded to the French and Finland.
The Netherlands positively cruised into the finals of Brazil 2014, coming through as Europe’s the joint-top point scorers – alongside Germany – on 28, with their 2-2 draw against Estonia the only minor blemish on a near-faultless campaign. At times they were absolutely purring, in no game more so than their 8-1 defeat of Hungary, while Germany were the only side on the continent to score more goals than their 34.
After Chile started their qualifying campaign by winning 12 of the first 18 points on offer, including away victories in Bolivia and Venezuela, three consecutive defeats (among them two home fixtures against Colombia and Argentina) spelled the end of Argentinian coach Claudio Borghi’s tenure. His compatriot Jorge Sampaoli was brought in as a replacement, although his reign got off to a poor start with a reverse in Peru.
Having cruised to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ with two games to spare, Australia entered their second qualifying campaign for the global showpiece since joining AFC targeting a second consecutive and smooth qualification. Instead, the road to Brazil 2014 proved to be a bumpy one for the Socceroos, who had to overcome some erratic form to secure their progression.
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