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FIFA World Cup: 18 June 2014: Live Thread

Live thread for the matches played on the seventh day of the 2014 World Cup

David Ramos

The first week of World Cup competition is coming to a close. All 32 teams have already played at least one match each, and the quality of most of the 17 games has been incredible. Surprising wins -- and losses -- and lots of goals marked the first six days of competition.

Now, we reach the part of the Group stage where things get really serious. Those who won their first games want to guarantee a place in the Round of 16 with another victory, while the ones who had a negative result want to get back on track. That includes a lot of Barcelona players. Spain, Croatia and Cameroon all feature Barça stars, and all of them lost. And all of them are desperate for a win.

Yesterday, Brazil and Mexico played to a draw that saw poor performances from Neymar and Alves, but both teams stand at the top of Group A. Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pedro, Piqué and Alba will play for their lives today, but it won't be easy. Rakitic will play his first official game as a Blaugrana, althought is for Croatia. Lord Song will also play today, and we're hopeful for more great moments from him.

Let's take a look at today's games.

Australia vs Netherlands, Kickoff: 6pm CET

After an unbelievable destruction of Spain in the first match, Netherlands quickly gained favorite status, and they're now the "team to beat" in the World Cup. With a strong defense, and great performances from Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, the Oranje showed that their youth might actually be a good thing for them. Today's opponent, Australia, gave Chile a hard time last Friday, and they hope to do the same again. Can they do it? Will Netherlands steamroll past the Socceroos?

Spain vs Chile, Kickoff: 9pm CET

Alexis Sánchez and Chile could really get close to knocking the defending World Champs out of the Cup and almost guarantee a place in the Round of 16. After a tough 3-1 victory in their debut against Australia, Chile has the chance of qualifying for the next phase. To do so, they'll have to at least draw with a desperate Spain team. Xavi, Iniesta and Barça company got destroyed by Netherlands, and a lot of questions surround them. Was it just something incredibly surprising or do the Spanish really have deep struggles? We'll find out tonight, as the win is their only option.

Croatia vs Cameroon, 0am CET

Both teams are playing for their World Cup life tonight. Both lost their opening match, and both need a win to still dream about a chance of going past the Group phase. Croatia's position is a little easier. Not only are they the better team, they're also playing Mexico in the third match. It's easier to beat the Mexicans then Brazil, and that's Cameroon's next opponent. Will Rakitic show why he is a Blaugrana and lead Croatia to victory? Will Lord Song have mercy?

The schedule is in. Enjoy the matches!

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