World Cup Soccer Betting: Spain vs. Netherlands

World Cup Soccer Betting:  Spain vs. Netherlands

It may be Friday the 13th but soccer fans definitely aren’t the unlucky ones as they get an excellent World Cup group matchup between defending champions Spain and a very talented Netherlands team. Both teams finished first in their respective World Cup qualifying groups and while Spain has the ‘name value’ as defending champions serious soccer fans know that the Netherlands are no joke and represent a very formidable challenge–and especially in the opening game of the tournament.

Spain looked dominant in their qualification run and finished unbeaten with a 6-2-0 record. For Spanish head coach Vincente Del Bosque one of his biggest challenges is trying to put together the best possible lineup from his ’embarrassment of riches’ roster chock full of high level players from European leagues. In particular, he’s got to decide who he’ll start in goal between Manchester United’s David de Gea and Napoli’s Pepe Reina. To illustrate the ridiculous depth that the Spanish team enjoys they’ve got a third goaltending option–Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas who started the last warmup game against El Salvador and backstopped Spain to a 2-0 victory. Some have suggested that their defense is a liability though based on their warmup and qualification results it sure doesn’t look like it. You could make a case that it is their weakest phase of the game but only because their midfield and forward depth is borderline insane.

Netherlands might not have as much top to bottom depth as Spain but they’re a very tough opponent and one of the biggest offensive threats in the tournament. Their attack is led by Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and the team scored 36 goals during qualification which is second best of any team behind only Germany. There is some concern that they may be getting a little ‘long in the tooth’ for a deep run in the tournament with most of their key players over the age of 30.

As is so often the case in the opening game of the World Cup we expect this to be a very tentative and conservative game with both teams looking to avoid mistakes. That style favors Spain more than the offensively oriented Netherlands and we’ll bet accordingly.