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SPAIN Nickname: La Roja (The Red) World Cup Best: Holders Captain: Iker Casillas Star Man: Andres Iniesta - Although he really should come as part of a pair with brilliant Barca colleague Xavi Hernandez. The duo will control the tempo of their team's game and Spanish success depends as ever on them pulling the strings. Key Man: Diego Costa - Having struggled to find the No.9 to put away the possession they enjoy, Costa's switch of allegiance in time to play in the finals being staged in the land of his birth is a timely boost. A massive asset for Atletico Madrid, could finish a fine season in the best possible fashion.

NETHERLANDS Nickname: Oranje World Cup Best: Runnersup (1974, 1978) Captain: Robin van Persie Star Man: Robin van Persie - Will be seeking to put a troubled club season behind him under Louis van Gaal, the man set to join him at United.

Can be the difference for a rounded Dutch team. Key Man: Arjen Robben - Hasn't quite had the impact at recent major finals but will be looking to ensure what he has done for Bayern he can do for his country.

CHILE Nickname: La Roja World Cup Best: Third (1962) Captain: Claudio Bravo Star Man: Gary Medel (pictured right) - At least in these parts after his time with Cardiff City. Seeing the stocky star make the transition to defence from midfield against the world's best strikers will be interesting. Key Man: Arturo Vidal - The experienced Juventus utility man will be vital.

AUSTRALIA Nickname: Socceroos World Cup Best: Last-16 (2006) Captain: Mile Jedinak Star Man: Tim Cahill - Ex-Everton ace now playing in the MLS but his goal threat and dynamism from midfield still crucial. Key Man: Mile Jedinak - Impressive for Palace as a midfield destroyer.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 24, 2014
Previous Article:It's a match made in soccer heaven as World Cup goes home.
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