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Top five World Cup group matches not featuring the Socceroos

Roar Guru
13th June, 2014

Here are the top five most important and intriguing group stage matches that this writer is looking forward to at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Chile (14) versus Netherlands (15): Group B, 23rd of June
It was fair to assume that both these teams will probably lose to the Spaniards and beat the Australians (barring a hopeful slip on a green and gold banana). This means that this game, the last of Group B, should decide who makes it through to the second round behind Spain.

The lucky winner will most likely face Brazil in the round of 16.

Italy (9) versus Uruguay (7): Group D, 24th of June
Group D is such a tough nut to crack. Uruguay, Italy and the English (10) have all won World Cups and could all potentially beat each other. Costa Rica too, has the potential to wreck someone’s day. With the Three Lions facing Costa Rica at the same time, I have a feeling this game could become a win or your out scenario, particularly for the Italians.

Germany (2) versus Portugal (4): Group G, 16th of June
This will be a fantastic group match. Both teams are better going forward. Germany are perhaps a better team, but have been struck with injuries. Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, William Carvalho, and a slightly shaky defence. Can Mario Goetze and co. exploit it? With Ghana and the United States completing the group, this should decide who comes out on top.

Japan (46) versus Cote D’Ivoire (23): Group C, 14th of June
Japan is fantastic going forward, but their star defender, Maya Yoshida, hardly gets game time at Southampton. Cote D’Ivoire are a great team, but perennial underachievers. Can an ageing Didier Drogba still do the job against the Blue Samurai?

Whether Manchester City star Yaya Toure can get on the pitch or not could be the key.

Belgium (11) versus Russia (19): Group H, 22nd of June
Both of these teams should qualify from Group H, with Algeria and South Korea the other contenders. This is more interesting to see how good this young Belgian team actually is, and if they are really outside contenders.

A defence featuring Kolarov will always be hard to beat, so watching how Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard go about it will show us who dark the horse is.