2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

12 June - 13 July

2014 FIFA World Cup™

Nerves for Brazil, pride for Spain

Neymar (R) and Fred of Brazil wait to kick off i
© Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW – Expect the whole of Brazil to be biting fingernails on Monday as A *Seleçao* bid to seal their progress to the Round of 16. Luiz Felipe Scolari's side will be strong favourites to see off eliminated Cameroon in their 100th FIFA World Cup™ match, but the Indomitable Lions are sure to be hungry to exit the tournament on a high. Adding to the tension for the home fans, four Brazil players risk suspension if they collect another yellow card, including Thiago Silva and Neymar.

Elsewhere in Group A, Mexico take on Croatia needing just a draw to go through, and both could qualify if the host nation come unstuck. As for Group B, the Netherlands and Chile have already clinched berths in the knockout phase and will be competing for top spot in a game that has all the makings of a truly spectacular encounter. A stalemate would leave the Oranje first on goal difference, though they will have to make do without Robin van Persie. Spain, meanwhile, have nothing but pride to play for as they get to grips with Australia.  

The matches

Netherlands-Chile (Group B), Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, 13.00 (local time)

Australia-Spain (Group B), Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, 13.00 (local time)

Cameroon-Brazil (Group A), Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, 17.00 (local time)

Croatia-Mexico (Group A), Arena Pernambuco, Recife, 17.00 (local time)

Did you know?

*Hero sidelined: *Tim Cahill can pride himself on being the first Australian player to have registered in three consecutive World Cup games, but his run now looks to be over for good. Scorer of 34 goals for his country in 71 appearances – including five in eight World Cup outings – the 34-year-old will miss the Socceroos final match against Spain due to suspension.

Champions cursed: Spain may be the first reigning World Cup champions to be eliminated after just two games, but they are by no means the first holders in recent years to bid the tournament an early farewell. Over the last four editions, the previous winners have exited at the first hurdle on no fewer than three occasions. France slumped out without scoring a goal in 2002, Italy posted two draws and a loss in 2010 and La Roja have now joined the same ranks. Brazil alone bucked the trend, qualifying from their group in 2006.  

Eto'o precedent: The hosts could have good reason to fear Cameroon after all. Brazil have won 32 of their 33 meetings with African teams, but their sole reverse came against the Indomitable Lions in a FIFA Confederations Cup fixture at the Stade de France on 19 June 2003. The Pentacampeões (Five-time winners) will thus be doubly wary of the only scorer that day, Samuel Eto'o having struck with a majestic half-volley.

Suspended players

Tim Cahill (AUS)

Robin van Persie (NED)

Alexandre Song (CMR)

*Treading the tightrope *

Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak (AUS)

Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas (ESP)

Stefan de Vrij, Jonathan de Guzman (NED)

Eugenio Mena, Charles Aranguiz, Arturo Vidal (CHI)

Dany Nounkeu (CMR)

Neymar, Ramires, Luiz Gustavo, Thiago Silva (BRA)

Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Eduardo (CRO)

Jose Vazquez, Paul Aguilar, Hector Moreno (MEX)

Check it out

The likes of Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are all top-drawer footballers, but you would be hard pressed wowing people with knowledge of the dynamic Dutch trio. Who, on the other hand, can claim to be an expert on Memphis Depay? The Hyundai Young Player Award candidate recently came under the FIFA.com spotlight, so find out more about the promising winger and get to work impressing your friends.

Neymar is a player who needs little introduction, however, and against Cameroon he may prove yet again that he is an artist with the ball at his feet. But do you know who once nutmegged the Brazil star? Lionel Messi? Cristiano Ronaldo? Franck Ribery? Not even close…

On this day

23 June 1990 is a date engraved in the annals of African football, and Cameroonian football in particular. With the atmosphere electric at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples, the Indomitable Lions made history by becoming the first team from the African continent to reach the World Cup quarter-finals. Roger Milla was the star of the show as Colombia stood in their path, the veteran forward scoring twice in the space of three minutes during extra time. For his second, he memorably stole the ball off eccentric Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita before slotting into an empty net – and racing to the corner flag for a celebratory dance that will live long in the memory.

Play and win

With the third round of group stage games about to get under way, you have a fresh chance to test your skills by joining over 900,000 users and signing up for McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy. Select your starting XI, make a few shrewd transfers and you could win some massive prizes!

Top tweetMexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa tweeted a group shot of El Tri in Recife ahead of Monday's big match-up with Croatia as Miguel Herrera's looks to reach the Round of 16.

"Here in Recife we're ready and very excited for the match tomorrow. Thank you Mexico for your support and love!"

Aquí en Recife ya listos y muy emocionados x el partido d mañana.Gracias México x su apoyo y cariño!!! #VamosMexico pic.twitter.com/CjiGv3WROl

— Guillermo Ochoa (@yosoy8a) June 22, 2014

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