Reigning World Cup champion Spain takes on the Netherlands in Group B action Friday afternoon at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.
A rematch of 2010’s rough championship when a record 13 yellow cards and one red were issued over 120 minutes of play, Spain seeks to claim a fourth major tournament following two UEFA European titles in 2008 and 2012.
Netherlands and manager Louis van Gaal are hoping to advance to the knockout stages for a sixth time in the last seven World Cups, but are doing so with only seven players back from 2010’s runner up squad.
The Dutch stars have realigned in Arjen Robben, Wesley Snejider and Robin van Persie. Following the World Cup the Netherlands struggled mightily during the 2012 European Championship, failing to earn a single point in the group stages and leaving early and responded by reshuffling the squad with more youth.
The infusion worked and the Dutch overpowered their group during Cup qualifying round with 34 goals in 10 matches and a 9-0-1 record.
The Spanish also went undefeated while claiming their qualifying group over France, and still remains one of the heavy favorites to repeat as champions, with the slick midfield passing from Xabi Alonso, David Silva and former Ballon d’Or winner Andres Iniesta, with forwards Diego Costa and David Villa firing off goals.
Start Time: Friday, 3 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Online Stream Info: A live online stream is available at Watch ESPN here.