Spain is a dynasty. That's deserved recognition for a side that has won a World Cup and two Euro Championships in the span of 6 years.

Still, many critics are questioning the best-before date of 30-somethings like Xavi, Iniesta and Villa, suggesting they could wilt in the Brazilian heat.

They're forgetting that these players are smart enough to let the ball do most of the hard work for them.

Dutch dreams

The Netherlands remain the best country never to win a World Cup. Though they made the final four years ago, they really weren't that close.  

While the Spaniards sought to create, the Dutch looked to destroy (see: Nigel de Jong v Xabi Alonso). Wesley Sneijder was an inspiration in midfield 4 years ago. In Brazil, he's not even a guarantee to start. Sneijder has taken up kickboxing to get fit. 

Chilean miners offer support

In Chile, television ads back home have featured the miners who were trapped underground in 2010 for more than two months.

The men went back to the site which was nearly their grave to retrieve sand from the Atacama Desert. The miners want the Chilean players to sprinkle the sand on the fields in Brazil before their games for good luck.

With elite talents like Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, the Chilenos might not need luck.

Socceroos need luck

Australia, meanwhile, is the lowest ranked team at the tournament. The Socceroos have been in poor form of late and are dealing with injuries to key personnel. For those expecting the Aussies to get embarrassed though, remember 2010, when New Zealand finished the tournament early, but also as the event's only unbeaten team.

Regehr's pick: Spain should finish top. I like Chile for second.


Scott Regehr hosts the morning sports on CBC Radio and will provide daily afternoon radio reports on the World Cup.