RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The big rematch between Spain and Netherlands has come around quickly. The teams that played in the final of the last World Cup meet again on Day 2 in Brazil.
The 2014 tournament kicked off with host nation Brazil beating Croatia 3-1 after conceding an early own goal on Thursday. The Group B clash between defending champion Spain and Netherlands is one of three games set for Friday.
Here are some things to look for:
NO COMPARISON: Dutch winger Arjen Robben has consigned his team's 1-0 loss to Spain in the 2010 final to history, saying he doesn't believe in revenge and there's no way to compare a group game with a title decider.
That doesn't mean there'll be any less ferocity in the tackles.
On the eve of the rematch, coach Louis van Gaal defended the tough tackling in the 2010 final that resulted in a total of 13 yellow cards, one red card and wide criticism for his predecessor. That sounds like a cue for more of the same.
Van Gaal signaled he's considering playing five defenders to stifle Spain's slick-passing forwards in a further sign that the attacking "total football" style of the Dutch teams of the 1970s and '80s has been supplanted by a tough, uncompromising focus on defense.
And they train as they intend to play — Robben was floored twice in tackles in practice this week and midfield playmaker Wesley Sneijder was left wincing in pain after a tackle from behind by Nigel de Jong.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque believes his team is in its prime and determined to continue a winning run in major events that started at Euro 2008.
Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa is expected to start up front for a Spain, which will likely be relying on a midfield containing David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets to help the team dominate possession.
Fabregas will be playing a day after announcing he is leaving Barcelona to return to Chelsea on a five-year deal.
Venue: Salvador. Kickoff: 4 p.m. local time (3 p.m. in New York, 8 p.m. in London, 4 a.m. in Tokyo).
VIDAL AVAILABLE? Midfield playmaker Arturo Vidal could make an earlier than expected comeback from injury to play in Chile's World Cup opener against Australia.
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