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2014 World Cup: Breaking down Group B

(SportsNetwork.com) - Boasting world powers like Spain and the Netherlands, Group B is one of the toughest fields of the entire World Cup.

The two countries met in the 2010 World Cup final, which Spain ultimately won in extra time thanks to an Andres Iniesta strike.

And with the majority of the same pieces in place, Spain will be looking to make history by not only becoming the first nation to claim back-to-back World Cup titles since Brazil achieved the feat with triumphs in 1958 and 1962, but also by becoming the first European country to win the tournament in South America.

The Netherlands figures to be Spain's main rival in the group. Under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, the Dutch side is much more dangerous than the Bert van Marwijk team that crashed out of Euro 2012 in the group stage.

While Holland has plenty of experience in attack with the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, the back line is relatively untested, increasing the concern as to whether the 2010 runners-up can even make it out of the group this time around.

If they cannot, it is likely to be at the expense of Chile, a country attempting to make its second consecutive appearance in the knockout round.

The Chileans have been drawn in the same group as Spain for the second straight World Cup, and they will be looking for a repeat performance with a largely unchanged squad.

Australia rounds out Group B, though Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano will not likely be able to lift the Socceroos past the three quality teams standing in their way.

Game of the Group: Spain vs. Netherlands (June 13)

The opening game of the group is a rematch of the 2010 final, and it figures to be just as intriguing.

The two sides needed extra time to decide a winner four years ago in South Africa, and with neither side wanting to fall into an early hole, it is likely to be just as closely contested.

Player to Watch: Alexis Sanchez (Chile)

Many have picked Chile to finish second in Group B, and if La Roja hope to achieve that feat, Alexis Sanchez figures to be a key cog.

With midfielder Arturo Vidal nursing a knee injury, Sanchez will have to shoulder the bulk of the attacking responsibility.

The youngster should be up for the challenge as he is coming off of an impressive club season that saw him finish as Barcelona's second-top scorer in La Liga action.

Breakout Player: Diego Costa (Spain)

In a star-studded group, it's difficult to highlight a breakout player as most of them have already broken out. But Diego Costa is hoping to make his first big splash on the international stage.

Costa was the star player in Atletico Madrid's La Liga-winning campaign, and while he was also eligible to represent Brazil, he pledged his international future to Spain.

He is on the verge of completing a move to the English Premier League, so he will be eager to justify the hyped move to Chelsea with a solid showing at the World Cup.

Predictions:

Group Winner: Spain

Given that Spain is one of the favorites to win the entire competition, the reigning champions certainly figure to get out of the group. La Roja is loaded with talent, and the team's unconventional tactics make them an extremely tough out.

Second Place: Netherlands

Second place is up for grabs between Chile and the Netherlands, but the Dutch have a slight edge in experience and coaching. Van Gaal will not let past failures doom this team to the same fate it suffered in Euro 2012, and with a wealth of attacking talent the Dutch will advance.