World Cup recap: Netherlands and Chile advance from Group B

Luis Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

The final series of group-stage games, which will provide two teams from each group to advance into the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, is underway.
Group B was the first in action, with Chile playing the Netherlands and Spain facing Australia simultaneously on Monday.

After what could be the most disappointing performance of the reigning champion in a World Cup, Spain presented a few changes in their starting lineup, giving players with little to no action in the first games a chance to get on the field. The disappointing Spanish squad, who changed their uniforms from the scheduled and traditional red to their all-black kits, looked to finish their participation in the competition on a good note and had control of the match from start to finish.

The reigning World Cup champs bowed out of the competition gracefully with a final score of 3-0 thanks to performances by David Villa, with a spectacular back-heel finish, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
This Spanish side played closer to the way the world expected to see and put a fitting end to Villa’s international career, while providing a glimpse of a younger Spanish team with players like Juan Mata and Jorge “Koke” Resurrección Merodio, taking on more significant roles.

In what was expected to be a great match, the Dutch and Chileans went to battle in Sao Paolo where the ultimate price was a first place finish in the group. The first place took on an even greater importance considering the fact that it would probably avoid a date with host Brazil in the next round.

The Dutch, led by Arjen Robben, bested Chile with a final score of 2-0, an entertaining, intense and very hard fought match.

With the absence of Robin Van Persie, due to suspension, Robben rose to the challenge of being the focal point of the attack, creating the most dangerous attempts at goal of the match. One of them resulting in the second goal for the Netherlands by Memphis Depay. Robben’s speed, verticality and skill on the ball proved to be the deciding factor in an otherwise very tight contest.

Chile played without orchestrator Arturo Vidal who is coming off knee surgery and was rested as a precaution. His absence was surely felt by San Paoli’s squad, especially in the final third of the pitch. The South Americans lacked creativity and had little to no clear opportunities that put Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen’s goal under any real danger.

With these results, Netherlands finishes on top of Group B with nine points, followed by Chile with six points, Spain with three points and Australia with zero points.

Qualified Netherlands and Chile will now wait for this afternoon’s Group A contests to find out their opponents in the Round of 16. Netherlands will face the second place, which will probably be either Mexico or Croatia, and Chile is set to play Brazil, who will surely beat Cameroon and top the group.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at theprospectordaily.spor[email protected]