This was the final game of Group B and the winner of this one, would top. A draw would be enough for Netherlands as they had a superior goal difference. Chile has surpassed expectations with super victories over Australia and Spain, but this was arguably their biggest test. Netherlands were without captain Robin van Persie due to suspension and beating Chile would be tough as they were no pushovers. But, if any team could do it, it would be Holland, and they did not disappoint.
The Netherlands beat Chile by two goals to none, but to be brutally honest, they did not deserve such a margin. The match started with Chile dominating the ball and the majority of the chances, a staggering 68% possession. The half brought no goals, but opened plenty of eyes. Netherlands looked like very weak with no Robin van Persie and Jonathan DeGuzman and they lacked the killer instinct. Robben could not do everything alone, and he really needs somebody more qualified than Jeremain Lens. Vargas and Sanchez were amazing on the ball, getting many chances, but lacking the killer pass in the final third. Daley Blind was guilty of committing many fouls in the game, but their physical approach seem to be working. The chance of the half came to Arjen Robben, who picked up the ball from his own half and ran to the opposite penalty area, beating two defenders, but his shot was just wide. If he had scored, it would’ve been one of the best goal seen at a WC ever.
The score at half was 0-0 and it seemed a goal was unlikely, with Netherlands not willing to step up their attack, while Chile just could not break down a stern Oranje defence.
The second half was more of the same, but with Holland getting more chances and clear opportunities on goal, only for Claudio Bravo to deny them. Jasper Cillessen fouled Alexis Sanchez in the box, but his claims for a penalty were not given any thoughts, good refereeing, in this match. Then, Wesley Sneijder was brought off for Norwich City’s Leroy Fer. His impact was instantaneous. Robben short corner found Daryl Janmaat, who crossed the ball in, only for the substitute to head into the goal. Just 90 seconds after coming on, it was the fastest goal scored by a substitute, this World Cup. Chile had left him unmarked and it was simple goal for him. This was 13 minutes from time, and now it seemed Netherlands would top the group. And they did. But, only after scoring another goal. Deep in stoppage time, Chile won a corner, which the Dutch defended fine, and then we got yet another example of Louis van Gaal’s genius and the Dutch pace in attack. The ball was quickly transferred from defence to attack, with Robben running the ball and he gave a low cross which found substitute Memphis Depay who snuck the ball in, to score his second World Cup goal. The game was won and we should say that Chile deserved better, but the Netherlands did merit this victory.
Netherlands have got 9/9 points and they topped Group B with some swagger. They will play the runners up of Group A and Chile, the winners. Daley Blind committed 7 fouls, all on Alexis Sanchez and the Netherlands have conceded more fouls than any other team at World Cup 2014 with 43 fouls. Chile are no pushovers too, and whoever they play, should be worried. Louis van Gaal can be happy with his team’s performance, with Arjen Robben, Dirk Kuyt and Daryl Janmaat being the star performers. Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo and Aranguiz played well too. The The Round of 16 will be amazing to watch with these two teams in action, as they play a very enterprising brand of football. The Netherlands were stunning versus Spain, showed a lot of character versus Australia and lots of pragmatism against Chile. This physical game coupled with some technical prowess makes Netherlands the underestimated “surprise package” of the World Cup.
FIFA/Our Man Of The Match: Arjen Robben
3 matches. 3 goals. 3 Man of the Match awards. He is easily the player of the tournament so far. Today’s performance was no different. He kept his head up and ran riot along with Wesley Sneijder and Jeremain Lens, had a few chances but was unlucky not to score. He provided the pace and creativity for Netherlands and he would’ve put Netherlands well ahead, only if he had his van Persie playing with him. Ran his lungs out in the 92nd minute, and gave a superb ball to Memphis Depay to score, an assist, capping off another influential performance for Netherlands.
Our Flop Of The Match: Jeremain Lens
He failed to provide the tenacity and drive that Robin van Persie provides for the Oranje and he looked lost and unimpressive. Committed many fouls and could not register any shots that actually troubled Claudio Bravo. He was brought off for Memphis Depay in the second half, who went on and scored.