Soccer Magazine

Spain Knocked Out of 2014 World Cup by Chile

By Niccoloc @Soccerwrapup
Spain Knocked Out of 2014 World Cup by ChileJust two matches into the 2014 World Cup, the reigning world champions Spain have lost the chance to retain their title. After their humiliating 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands, the Spanish national team lost 2-0 in their second group match against Chile. The result confirms Netherlands and Chile as qualified for the next round, while Spain and Australia will be going home after they play each other in their final match of the tournament.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque modified the starting line-up which lost to the Netherlands by removing Xavi and Pique, replacing them with Javi Martinez and Pedro. Even with the new additions to the starting eleven, Spain ran into the same problems from the first group match. Their possession was ineffective and slow-moving while also being incredibly vulnerable to Chile's devastatingly fast counter-attack. Diego Costa still seemed out of place in the team, unable to link up and contribute to build-up play, while also having a difficult time of finishing off any of Spain's rare chances.
Chile's constant pressure and high tempo left the Spanish with little room to breathe, and on the twenty minute mark Chile punished the Spaniards. The Chileans burst forward with a great passing move, with Vargas sliding in the finish past the scrambling Casillas. While the nightmare of early elimination began to dawn on the Spaniards, Chile had no brakes and found a second goal just before halftime. It was Sanchez's free kick which forced Casillas to a punching save, but the ball fell right at the feet of Aranguiz who punted the rebound into the net.
Spain Knocked Out of 2014 World Cup by ChileIn the second half Vicente Del Bosque tried to right the tables by introducing Koke for Xabi Alonso, partially in hopes that the Atletico Madrid midfielder would find a way to bring the best out of his former club teammate Diego Costa. For a moment it seemed like the plan was working when Diego Costa produced a spectacular bicycle kick to serve Sergio Busquets the ball in front of an empty net, but the Barcelona midfielder's tap-in bounced wide of the goal. Spain kept trying, and Iniesta managed to carve out a great opportunity for Diego Costa with a wonderful through pass, but the striker took an extra touch and was stopped by the Chilean defence.
In the 64th minute Del Bosque's patience with Diego Costa was up, and he replaced him with Fernando Torres, hoping that El Nino would be more acclimatized to the Spanish playing style. Yet Spain seemed powerless as the minutes ticked away. They tried every method they could, from their traditional tiki-taka to pumping crosses into the box and shots from long range. Santi Cazorla substituted Pedro with fifteen minutes left, but at that point Chile's two goal lead seemed impenetrable to a set of Spanish players who looked defeated from the moment Chile's second goal went in.
What are your thoughts on Spain's early exit? Can Chile manage to upset the Netherlands and qualify at the top of the group? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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