Just after two games Spain’s World Cup defence came to a crashing end, as they suffered a 2-0 to Chile at the Maracana. First half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz were enough to hand Chile a deserved win, confirming the first two teams to exit the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Having earlier lost to the Netherlands, Australia joined Spain as the first of two teams to book their tickets back home. Six points each for the Dutch and Chile mean that neither Spain nor Australia could surpass their points tally.
How an Era came to an end
The current European and World champions, Spain, were tactically outwitted by their South American opposition. Coming of a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Holland, described by the Spanish press as a ‘catastrophe,’ La Roja had to win to keep their chances of defending their title alive.
Coming off a rousing national anthem, Chile backed by thousands of fans bouncing of the walls, were extremely fired up. The Chileans who are already known for their passion and intensity started hot out of the blocks. An early warning was delivered when Gonzalo Jaro placed a free header wide of Spain’s goal. With victory mandatory, La Roja had to score and thought they had done so when Xabi Alonso pounced on a deflected pass and looked to stab it past the keeper to take the lead. Claudio Bravo in goal for Chile had other ideas as he pulled of a brilliant save to keep the scores level. Alonso’s next contribution to the game was a turnover in possession, that lead to Vargas’ goal.
Alexis Sanchez scooped up the ball, playing in Aranguiz in a swift counter attack, who intern picked out Vargas with a brilliant centre. Vargas finished with aplomb as he held his cool to side Step Iker Casillas before rolling the ball into the back of the net. The Spanish captain, Casillas, had been heavily criticised after the Holland calamity, with some fans even calling for him to be dropped, added to his misery as a weakly parried Sanchez free-kick found its way to Charles Aranguiz feet, who toe-pocked it back past the keeper to give Chile their second goal moments before half time.
Vincent Del Bosque brought on Koke for Xabi Alonso at halftime and later brought on Torres and Santi Cazorla as he chased the game. Spain only looked somewhat threating for the opening 15 minutes of the second half before Chile re-asserted their dominance in the match. The second half saw Chile fail to close off the game as they wasted a couple of chances. The Chileans did not have to worry much as the Spanish became desperate and attempted to play a style of football that is foreign to them. All hope of a potential famous comeback were dashed when Sergio Busquets spurned a golden chance to tap the ball in at the far post, where it seemed harder to miss than score.
Spain looked like broken men as the game to an end. After the 2010 triumph sandwiched by two European Championship wins – their world has come crashing down.
Streaks and Records Set
A few notable streaks and records were set in Spain’s shock exit. La Roja became the first defending champion to lose their first two games subsequently leading to them being knocked out. This was the first time Spain had lost two games back-to-back since 2006. The out-of-sorts captain Casillas, was also playing in his 17 World Cup match which was a Spanish record. Lastly, Chile picked their first time to beat Spain perfectly, as this was their first victory over the Europeans in history with games dating back as far as 1950.