Friday the thirteenth is typically associated with bad luck, but whilst one match was dominated by it, the other two saw goals galore, with no less than ten goals between them. The day saw the other teams in Group A, Mexico and Cameroon, playing alongside the Group B teams, with arguably the tie of the round seeing a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final, with Spain clashing with the Netherlands.
Mexico 1-0 Cameroon
As in the Brazil-Croatia match, this one was marred by incorrect decisions from the officials; this time the linesman disallowed not one, but two Mexico goals, for being offside, although replays showed that in fact, both of them should have stood. Mexico did not let this frustration get the better of them and eventually scored in the 61st minute when Giovani Dos Santos’ shot was parried by the keeper into the path of Oribe Peralta, who made no mistake. Cameroon were poor throughout, and besides a Samuel Eto’o shot that hit the bar and a Benoit Assou-Ekotto free kick that was just wide, they hardly threatened. Mexico ultimately deserved the victory, and look a good bet in joining Brazil in the last 16.
Spain 1-5 Netherlands
This repeat of the 2010 World Cup final was expected to be a close affair, with Spain hoping to assert their status as one of the favourites for this tournament. They started off well too, with Xabi Alonso’s penalty giving them the lead, before it was cancelled out by Robin van Persie’s brilliant diving header. The second half ended up being one-way traffic, but it was the underdogs that completely annihilated a shell-shocked Spanish squad, with one further from van Persie, one from Stefan de Vrij and two goals from the fantastic Arjen Robben leading to a one-sided scoreline. This was down to a mixture of Dutch brilliance, and Spanish errors, particularly from their keeper Iker Casillas. Prior to the tournament, the Netherlands, despite being runner-up four years ago, had been dismissed by bookies and fans alike. After this match they must now be considered to be at least contenders, whilst Spain have to pick themselves up and win their remaining two matches in Group B to hope to progress, and could potentially face a last-16 meeting with Brazil.
Chile 3-1 Australia
Chile, having been buoyed by the heavy defeat of Spain, showed that they have a chance of getting out of Group B with victory over a hard-working Australia side. Their star player Alexis Sanchez scored one and set up the other to give Chile a 2-0 lead after just 14 minutes. But Australia rallied, and after a trademark Tim Cahill header pulled them back into the match, they went close on a couple of occasions, but brilliant saves from Chilean goalkeeper Bravo kept them ahead. Wigan player Jean Beausejour finally helped to settle any nerves within the team, who now can look forward to an important tie with Spain on Wednesday.