World Cup - Key Battles: United and Chelsea players key for respective sides

Manchester United's star striker is essential to Netherlands' mounting a serious challenge against Spain, whilst Chelsea FC's Azpilicueta will have his work cut out stopping Robben

Robin van Persie v Sergio Ramos

If Spain want to ensure victory and have their first group game go as smooth as possible they need to cancel out Manchester United FC striker Robin van Persie. Equally if Netherlands want to get anything out this game they’re going to need van Persie to be firing on all cylinders and hoping he can make room up front.

Ex-Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has previously praised van Persie on making runs so fast and intelligently that his team mates couldn't even see them. Louis van Gaal will be trying to exploit this trait in the Netherlands’ captain as much as possible and will hope the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben can feed van Persie through.

On Spain’s end, Ramos has had one of the best seasons of his career and will be boosted on the back of winning the Champions League. Vincente del Bosque will use Ramos’ pace and intelligence to nullify van Persie. Ramos showed just how good in the air he is towards the end of the season, scoring 4 goals in a week. This power in the air will be important against van Persie who has a knack of scoring with his head.

Diego Costa v Stefan de Vrij

Both of these are new boys on the block when it comes to the World Cup and both are equally looking to impress. Whether this is to force a sale remains to be seen.

Although it’s not a name on everyones lips, de Vrij can make an impact this World Cup. Coming through the Feyenoord youth system, de Vrij is looking like a real player having already established himself at the heart Manchester United FC manager Louis van Gaal’s dutch defence.

Diego Costa is a name that is on most peoples lips, mainly thanks to his near flawless season in La Liga guiding Atletico Madrid to the title. With strength, speed and sharp reactions de Vrij will have his work cut out.

This will make for an exciting spectacle.

Robben v Azpilicueta

Arjen Robben’s skills are hidden to no one, dazzling feet and a vicious strike make him a lethal attacker. In the last 2 seasons Azpilicueta has forced his way into the Chelsea FC team over long term servant Ashley Cole.

Robben will no doubt switch wings throughout the game but when he is on the left flank, Azpilicueta will be more than ready for him. Azpilicueta is a lot faster than most think but who knows what Robben can pull out of the bag.


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