This Group B encounter was the decider for Spain and they had to, had to win, in order to stay in the tournament. However, the holders crashed out of the tournament after they were stunned 2-0 by a brilliant Chile side on Wednesday night. After a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Holland in their opening Group B clash, Vicente del Bosque’s side needed an immediate response, but fell short in another lacklustre showing. Del Bosque dropped Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Xavi for Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and Barcelona’s Pedro Rodriguez. Chile had a great outing, qualifying for the last 16 along with Netherlands.
This match, unlike other World Cup games (except Iran vs Nigeria), started at a very slow and boring pace, thanks to (yes, you guessed it) Spain’s Tiki-taka. As usual, Spain had possession, but on a warm evening in Rio, Chile had the chances. Having fallen behind to Eduardo Vargas’ well-taken 20th-minute finish when after latching on to Alexis Sanchez’s through ball, Aranguiz squared to Vargas, who cleverly side-stepped Casillas before prodding the ball into an empty net. It was a Spainful night for the champions as they were pushed to the brink by a second from Charles Aranguiz – helped by another Iker Casillas error – who failed to parry the ball away from goal from a freekick. The defence was sleeping and the Udinese striker reacted first, doubling Chile’s advantage and their chances of progression. A comeback was never likely and it seemed the Spaniards would be coming up short again. Spain didn’t pose a threat at all, their passing became redundant after some time, and they couldn’t get past Medel. We’d like to give a shoutout to Brazilian Diego Costa, who was invisible in the game. If the Spanish Costa is going to Chelsea, Mourinho may as well resign, because his strike force isn’t improving with this addition. The half ended with Chile on a high and it was nice to see them leave the pitch all eleven together, while Spain looked crestfallen and were trying to come to terms with the gravity of the situation. At half-time, only a miracle could keep Spain alive. But that miracle was nowhere to be seen in Brazil. Xabi Alonso was brought off for Koke, who tried to make his way forward to give Spain some much needed urgency. Busquets should probably have put Spain back into the contest early in the second half, but he did a Torres from some 3 yards out. His passing was one dimensional, and his authority on the game faded, as Medel, Vidal and Sanchez outran and outclassed Spain’s midfield comprehensively. Del Bosque brought Fernando “Goal Machine” Torres on for Diego Costa with the Atletico Madrid forward soon substituted to a chorus of jeers. He hasn’t recorded a single shot on target in his 126 minutes of World Cup football. But bringing on El Nino was probably not the smartest decision as he didn’t bring in what everyone thought he would – goals. Actually, he brought in disappointment and despair for the Furia Roja, and everyone did expect that. Chile sat back in their own half and had a counter or two, but Spain had majority of the ball, but lacked the decisiveness and quality in the final third.After Torres came on, Mauricio Isla could’ve made it 3 for Chile, but he fluffed the ball over the ball being just a few yards out; but maybe that is what you call, #TheTorresEffect.
The game was seen off by a lucid and composed Chile and it was thoroughly deserved. Spain became the 4th reigning champions to be knocked out in the group stages and this was the first time in World Cup history that Sapin have lost the two opening games. Victory for Chile means that their final group game against the Netherlands will determine who finishes top with both now through to the last 16, while Spain face Australia with nothing left to play for but pride before heading home in despair. They’ll probably be put back in the ring with the Bulls for their abysmal performance. Mentions to Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez who were detrimental to the Spanish cause. Major defensive woes for Spain, who have conceded as many goals in the 2014 World Cup as they have in their previous 12 World Cup games. We do question Vicente Del Bosque’s changes; who on Earth bring on Koke and Torres when in need for 2-3 goals when they have the likes of Mata, Villa and Fabregas rotting on the bench. We know that the weather in Brazil is pretty hot but we’re sure Spain felt Chile. The victors, Chile, can be proud with their performance, as they eased past Spain, something not even the biggest critic could have seen coming. Del Bosque needs to rethink his philosophy, as the Tiki-Taka seems to be an easy tactic to play against. Is the end for Spain? Even if it is, their World domination of 7 years will go down as one of the greatest eras in World football.
FIFA Man Of The Match – Eduardo Vargas. Scored the first of the Chile goals, this Chilean had brilliant game, commanding in attack and decisive in front of goal. His expert touch to remove Casillas from the equation when he scored was sheer class. It was a sweet performance by the Napoli man.
Our Man Of The Match- Gary Medel aka the Pitbull of Seville. Was fantastic in his defending from crosses despite his height as he continually put his head in where it hurts to clear the danger. Doggedly picked away at the feet of the attackers, attempting to win possession. His destruction of play was similar to that of Genaro Gattuso and with this kind of a performance he is surely attracting big clubs to sign him up from Cardiff City.
Our Flop Of The Match- Sergio Busquets Should have closed down Alexis Sanchez much quicker for the opening goal as he allowed the industrious Chilean to pick out a pass to his team-mate inside the box. Missed an absolute sitter at the back post and was very weak in midfield, not being able to provide cover for the Spanish defense. A really poor performance from the Barcelona man.