In an energetic and largely one-side match, Chile sealed their qualification into the last 16, and with it, knocked out the defending champions Spain.
Spain enjoyed the majority of possession throughout the match, but hardly threated Bravo’s goal during the encounter. Chile put pressure on Spain with their high tempo pressing game from the start, with Eduardo Vargas almost scoring in the first few minutes after a burst into the box by Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean keeper would only be properly tested in the 15th minute, with Bravo saving a Xabi Alonso close-range strike after some good play from Diego Costa.
A miss-guided 20th minute pass in the middle by Xabi Alonso however, gifted the ball to Alexis Sanchez. After some neat play between the Barca man and Arturo Vidal, a clever through ball was played to Charles Aranguiz who drew the defender and squared to Eduardo Vargos who poked the ball beyond Iker Casillas for the first goal and to send the crowd into raptures.
Spain attempted to increase their tempo, and continued to dominate possession, but predictable attacks and some poor passing, especially from Xabi Alonso, saw Chile deal with the danger easily.
A 43rd minute freekick was poorly dealt with by Iker Casillas, with his punch dropping the ball straight at the feet of Charles Aranguiz, who calmly toe-poked it into the top corner for Chile’s second, giving the reigning champions a mountain to climb.
Spain almost got a goal in the 52nd minute, but Sergio Busquets, who had been anonymous for most of the match, missed a sitter off his shin. A super bicycle kick from Diego Costa to the back post landed right in front of Busquets, but he could only see it meekly wide.
The remainder of the match played off without much incident, apart from a few half chances. Chile showed a lot of spirit in their performance, it was certainly no fluke! The likes of Arturo Vidal and Gary Medel were monstrous, constantly putting the Spanish ball players under pressure, whilst Mauricio Isla was industrious down the right flank. For Spain, it’s the end of an era. Xavi and Pique were dropped following the Dutch result, and more are certain to follow. Spain lacked any sort of drive going forward apart from the often isolated Iniesta, with Pedro in particular ineffective on the attack.
Whilst Spain still have a dead rubber with Australia to play before heading home, Chile will fancy themselves in their upcoming match against Holland, and certainly in the knockout matches to come.
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