Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2014 Contents PORTO ALEGRE---After hammering
Spain 5-1 in their World Cup opener, the
Netherlands is hungry for more.
"We have three points and we want six
more," Wesley Sneijder said after practice
on the eve of today s Group B match against
Sneijder s comment oozed an understand-
able confidence after his team s demolition
of the reigning world and European cham-
pions. But Sneijder made it clear that his
teammates would not underestimate the
Socceroos. Netherlands has not beaten Aus-
tralia in their only three meetings.
"Certainly after a 5-1 win like that the
outside world might think it will be easy,
but we don t," Sneijder said, in an attempt
to dampen the euphoria after the Dutch
"We know what we have to do."
Coach Louis van Gaal has a fully-fit squad
for the Group B match, after defenders Ron
Vlaar and Daley Blind recovered from minor
The question is whether he will need all
his defenders or play a four-man defense
to give him more attacking impetus.
Australia can t just sit back against the
Dutch --- it desperately needs a win to get
its World Cup back on track after losing its
opening match 3-1 to Chile.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou hinted
earlier in the day that his side will not only
defend in an attempt to shut down Dutch
forwards Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.
"It will be a challenge for us to stop their
attacking game, but the other side of that
is: if we just try and defend for 90 minutes
there will be only one result --- and it won t
be in our favor," Postecoglou said.
Van Gaal was not saying how exactly the
Dutch plan to break down Australia --- stick
to the winning 5-3-2 formula he adopted
to such breathtaking effect against attack-
minded Spain, or revert to the traditional
4-3-3 system that was the foundation of
Dutch "total football" in years gone by.
"If Australia plays very defensively then
you can press forward better with 1-4-3-
3," Van Gaal said "But it doesn t always pro-
duce enough, that s why it s a very difficult
Van Gaal said he and his players know
what system the team will play today, but
they were keeping it to themselves.
He said he expects Postecoglou to use all
his attacking options --- most notably Tim
Cahill, whose powerful header brought Aus-
tralia back into the match against Chile after
a disastrous start in which his team conceded
two early goals.
"I expect an attacking Australia because
the coach uses the resources at his disposal,"
Van Gaal said. "If you play defensively, you
don t put Cahill in the field." (AP)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Traffic woes in Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo traffic crawls on a typical day. When
Brazil is playing a World Cup game, it barely
So workers could get home on time to watch
the 4 pm match, employers let them leave early,
creating an epic traffic jam on major
thoroughfare Avenida Paulista and all
surrounding streets. It took a half hour to travel
four blocks --- a whole hour to complete the
requisite U-turn to get off the avenue.
Agitated drivers blared their horns for minutes
at a time as pedestrians whizzed by on the
sidewalks and enjoyed the street music playing.
Everyone on the sidewalk was happy and
dressed in yellow. Everyone in the cars was hot
Claudio Jose Rodrigues, a taxi driver of nine
years, said he'd never seen anything like it
Invasion by sea
More than 3,500 Mexican fans arrived on a
cruise ship to watch their nation play host Brazil
The ship arrived early Monday and will depart
a day after the match in the northeastern
The fans are spending several weeks in Brazil,
traveling to each city where Mexico plays ---
Natal, Fortaleza and Recife, all in coastal Brazil in
The Mexicans who paid for the trip also got
tickets for the team's games during the World
Nearly 30,000 Mexican fans were expected in
Fortaleza for yesterday's match. The loud crowd
took over parts of the Arena Castelao, although
the stadium was still filled mostly by Brazilians
wearing the green and yellow colours of their
They traveled for 50 hours by bus from Lionel
Messi's hometown, Rosario, hoping to catch a
glimpse of the Argentina star.
Yesterday, 120 teenage boys from the Renato
Cesarini football academy clustered around the
entrance of the team's base in Belo Horizonte, all
wearing Argentina's blue and white-striped shirt.
After some negotiations with security guards
and team officials at the gate, it was agreed that
10 of them would be allowed in to watch
Named after the late Argentina player and
coach Renato Cesarini, the academy has seen
several national team players rise through its
ranks, including Javier Mascherano and Martin
Messi, however, did not. The Argentina captain
moved to Spain and FC Barcelona at 13, which
has made it difficult for him to win the hearts of
many of his countrymen, despite all his
The teenagers from Rosario, though,
expressed no doubts about Messi's Argentine
heart as they jealously watched journalists pass
Germany forward Lukas Podolski got his selfie
with Chancellor Angela Merkel. So did midfielder
Julian Draxler and backup goalkeeper Ron-
One of their teammates missed out, however,
when their country's leader dropped into the
dressing room to congratulate the players after
Monday's 4-0 victory over Portugal.
Defender Per Mertesacker wrote in German on
Twitter: "The chancellor didn't have a selfie for
me today," followed by a frowning face. "But," he
added more optimistically, "maybe I'll get a rose,"
followed by a smiley face and four exclamation
Dutch hungry for more goals
Spain set for changes against Chile
RIO DE JANEIRO---Spain coach Vicente
del Bosque promised yesterday to change
his lineup for the team s must-win Group
B match against Chile as the World Cup
holders look to stay in the tournament.
Forwards Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fab-
regas are widely seen as the most likely can-
didates to start on Wednesday after the 5-
1 thrashing by the Netherlands in their
opening match, though Del Bosque was not
giving away any names.
"There will be changes, but few," Del
Bosque said at the Maracana stadium.
While Pedro would probably replace David
Silva, Fabregas could slot in for Diego Costa
if Del Bosque decides to leave the physical
striker on the bench in place of a false strik-
Defensive player Javi Martinez is mean-
while a candidate to slot in for Gerard Pique,
while fullbacks Cesar Azpilicueta and Jordi
Alba are under scrutiny.
Spain was looking forward to the match
finally getting underway after four long days
since Friday s humiliating defeat by the
Netherlands, the losing finalists in 2010.
"Anxiousness can also allow you to play
better. The worst thing would be indiffer-
ence. It s good to be a little anxious, but
always in measured doses," Del Bosque said.
Spain was grappling with a psychological
blow unlike any other it had experienced,
according to Del Bosque, during its incredible
run of winning two European champi-
onships, either side of the last World Cup.
The opening loss in Salvador was its worst
competitive defeat since a 6-1 loss to Brazil
at the 1950 World Cup.
"We can t blame anyone, we lost the
game. We just have to look forward. In life,
there are solutions for everything," Del
Bosque said. "It s still in our hands."
Spain finishes Group B play against Aus-
tralia, which lost 3-1 to Chile. Spain would
remain alive with a draw against Chile,
although it would complicate things for the
Andres Iniesta looks set to stay in a lineup
that has to retain Spain s attractive style of
football --- but must also be more efficient.
Against the Netherlands, Spain s normally
slick passing game stuttered, while the pos-
session it thrives off of was disrupted by a
stronger, steadier opponent in Salvador.
Having conceded five goals in open play,
Spain knows it must adapt to the situation.
"We have to win by whatever means nec-
essary," Iniesta said on yesterday.
In 2010, Spain lost its opener against
Switzerland but went on to win its final two
group games, including one against Chile.
Iniesta, who scored Spain s winner in its
1-0 victory over the Dutch in the 2010 final
at Soccer City, believes that similar success
in this group stage is just around the corner.
Nude photos distract Croatia's campaign
SALVADOR---Croatia s coaches are urg-
ing their players to focus on facing
Cameroon at the World Cup rather than
lamenting the publication of photos show-
ing some of them bathing nude at their
training complex s swimming pool in
Since the paparazzi photos were pub-
lished by Croatian media over the weekend,
players have refused to speak to the media.
"The players are talking about that
theme, but we want them to concentrate
on the match against Cameroon," assistant
coach Robert Kovac said yesterday. "If
those photos were not published, they
would be thinking about Cameroon.
"Like this, they are distracted by things
outside the pitch."
However, Kovac said he understood the
players reasons for boycotting the media.
The stakes will be high in today s Group
A match at the Arena da Amazonia in Man-
aus, as both sides lost their opening match.
Croatia was beaten 3-1 by Brazil, while
Cameroon went down 1-0 to Mexico.
Kovac said the match in the Brazilian
rainforest could be won by the team which
copes better with the hot and humid con-
Netherlands' Arjen Robben, left, plays the ball during the official training the day before
the Group B World Cup soccer match between Australia and the Netherlands. AP PHOTO
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