By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun
10:22 AM EDT, June 18, 2014
Yesterday in one sentence: They were draws in the scorebook, but Mexico beat Brazil, 0-0, and South Korea beat Russia, 1-1.
What’s on tap: Australia vs Netherlands, noon, ESPN; Spain vs. Chile, 3 p.m.; ESPN; Cameroon vs. Croatia, 6 p.m., ESPN.
What you’ll see: I said yesterday would decide Group A, and it did in the sense that Brazil decided they didn’t terribly want to take control of the group. The goalless draw with Mexico leaves both teams on four points, and a draw today in the Croatia-Cameroon game leaves the juicy possibility that all four teams could finish on four points and create the kind of silly chaos only the World Cup can provide.
Croatia didn’t deserve to lose to Brazil as badly as they did, while Cameroon was flattered by the 1-0 loss to Mexico. I think Croatia’s class shows today.
The two Group B matchups are the most interesting today, though. Fresh off a decimation of titleholders Spain, the Dutch can secure a spot in the next round. Spain can still advance if it can defeat Chile today and Australia in their finale, as long as Chile doesn’t beat the Netherlands that same day.
It was always thought that whoever finished second in this group would have the misfortune of playing Brazil in the Round of 16, but even that is up in the air now in Group A.
Today comes down to whether Spain’s loss to the Netherlands was as bad as it seemed. If Spain is as vulnerable as it looked last week, then Arturo Vidal, his neck tattoos, and Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez will probably be able to unlock the Spainiards easily. If Spain simply had a bad day against a team desperate for World Cup revenge, then this afternoon’s match could be the game of the tournament.
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