May 20, 2018
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Spain’s reign ends as Chile prove too hot to handle

By Mike Collett, Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO — Defending champ Spain was eliminated from the World Cup on Wednesday when its 2-0 Group B defeat by Chile brought an end to one of the greatest dynasties of the modern game.

On the day when Spain’s King Carlos also signed his abdication papers, Spain’s footballers left their throne as goals from Eduardo Vargas after 20 minutes and Charles Aranguiz two minutes before halftime earned Chile a stunning victory.

Chile advanced to the last 16 along with the Netherlands and Australia go out with Spain.

“We cannot complain we did not deserve to go out, they were better than us,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told Spanish TV.

“The team showed character, we pressed forward but we had little luck in front of goal.

“We were certainly inferior to our rivals here at the finals. It is not the moment to think about the future. Little by little we will make the necessary assessments.”

The Dutch, which beat Spain 5-1, and Chile each have six points and play each other in Sao Paulo next Monday. Spain face Australia in Curitiba bidding to avoid finishing bottom.

“I’m happy with the players’ game, the team was up to the challenge, now we have to play against Holland to come first in the group,” Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said.

Spain became the third champions in the last four World Cups to be eliminated at the first hurdle and its departure will almost certainly end the long international careers of the aging greats who won the 2008 European Championship and its first World Cup in South Africa four years ago.

Chile, which had never beaten Spain in 10 previous meetings, looked sharp, composed and confident from the start and even faster and more fluid in the second half.

Although Spain’s Xabi Alonso had a shot saved in the 15th minute, Chile took the lead five minutes later.

A counter-attack on the right set up Aranguiz to provide the cross for Vargas who danced around goalkeeper Iker Casillas before firing home with defender Sergio Ramos arriving too late to stop him.

Casillas, who had a poor game in Spain’s mauling by the Dutch, was at fault for the second goal, punching an Alexis Sanchez free kick straight back to Aranguiz who swept the ball home with a spinning shot with the outside of his right foot.

Netherlands 3, Australia 2

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — The Netherlands beat Australia 3-2 in a sensational World Cup Group B match featuring stunning goals and non-stop action on Wednesday as the 2010 runners-up made it two wins out of two following its opening demolition of Spain.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben opened the scoring in the 20th minute when he ran from the halfway line before tucking the ball beyond Mat Ryan for this third goal of the tournament.

Tim Cahill replied immediately, however, by crashing a fantastic 20-meter volley into the roof of the net for what will be a strong contender for goal of the tournament.

Australia took a 2-1 lead with a 54th-minute Mile Jedinak penalty after Oliver Bozanic hammered the ball straight at Daryl Janmaat’s arm but Robin van Persie levelled with his sharply-taken third of the tournament four minutes later.

Substitute Memphis Depay won it for the Dutch after 68 minutes when his low long-range shot somehow escaped the diving Ryan and went just inside a post.

Netherlands have six points, Chile, who face Spain later on Wednesday, have three, with Australia and the holders on zero.


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