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Previews of Wednesday's featured World Cup games

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Group B: AUSTRALIA VS. NETHERLANDS

Where: Porto Alegre. Time: 9 a.m. PDT.

TV: EPSN, Univision.

The buzz: The Dutch scored five times in their opener against Spain, the most a defending World Cup champion has ever allowed in its first game. Australia, which gave up three goals in its opening loss to Chile, will be without defender Ivan Franjic and midfielder Mark Milligan, both down with hamstring strains. Add it up and this one could get real ugly, real soon.

SPAIN VS. CHILE

Where: Rio de Janeiro. Time: noon PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: After its embarrassing loss to the Netherlands, the team it beat in the 2010 World Cup final, Spain finds itself needing at least a tie here — and a lot of help later — to keep alive its hopes of surviving group play. Spain has been in this position before, losing its opener four years ago then running the table the rest of the way to win its first world championship. But a tie also helps Chile, which would have four points and a commanding six-goal lead over Spain in goal differential, the first tiebreaker. A win would be even better since it would hand Chile a place in the second round.

GROUP A

CAMEROON vs. CROATIA

Where: Manaus. Time: 3 p.m. PDT.

TV: ESPN, Univision.

The buzz: Both teams lost openers in which they played well, Croatia to Brazil and Cameroon against Mexico. So whichever team loses here is done. A tie, meanwhile, would set up a must-win group finale for both next week. Cameroon faces the tougher road, especially if striker Samuel Eto'o misses the game with a knee injury, as expected. Croatia, meanwhile, is still smarting from two questionable calls in its 3-1 loss to Brazil, one call that gave Brazil a penalty kick it turned into a goal and another that took a point off the board for Croatia.

—Kevin Baxter

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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