The three matches today may have huge implications for who goes out of the World Cup, as defending champions Spain face a difficult match against Chile, that they will need to surely win in order to keep their hopes of progressing alive. The team that beat Spain, the Netherlands, play Australia with a chance of progressing if results go their way. The final match sees two teams defeated in their first matches, Croatia and Cameroon play each other, and a win for either would surely be crucial in getting to the last 16.
Spain 0-2 Chile
Prior to this match, Spain desperately needed a win in order to avoid what would be a shock departure from the competition. They faced a Chile side who won their opening match, and a win would put them on the brink on progression. From the early stages there were signs that Spain could be back to their best, but Chile looked dangerous also. The so-called “underdogs” took the lead in the 19th minute when Eduardo Vargas finished off a brilliant attacking move; however this was still not that surprising, given that Spain were still nowhere near their best. Things got worse for Spain just before half-time, when their goalkeeper Iker Casillas atrociously palmed a free kick out to Charles Aranguiz, who made no mistake. Spain were now in an incredibly precarious position and were looking likely to make a shock exit from the tournament. But despite a couple of substitutions, Spain were still incredibly sloppy in possession, and lacked the zip that their unique passing style normally came with. Spain improved slightly in the second half, but failed to take their chances, which were best summed up by Sergio Busquets missing from five yards out. So Chile held on, and Spain bowed out of the World Cup in an almost embarrassing fashion.
Australia 2-3 Netherlands
The Netherlands, following their superb demolition job of Spain, next faced Australia, who performed well against Chile with no reward. This game was an exciting pulsating match, but it indicated at a procession when Aryen Robben, who was fantastic against Spain, scored from an angle. However, Tim Cahill equalised with a sublime volley that crashed in off the crossbar. Then the unthinkable happened, a cross struck an arm inside the Dutch penalty area, and Australia were awarded a penalty, which Mile Jedinak converted to send the Aussie fans into ecstasy. Unfortunately the lead lasted only 4 minutes, when Robin van Persie fired into the top of the net. But the game was still an open one, and Australia once again carved up the Dutch defence only for Mathew Lecklie to chest the ball straight at the keeper. This was to prove costly, when Memphis Depay curled a shot from the edge of the area to put the Netherlands through to the last 16 along with Chile, whilst condemning Australia to departing from the tournament.
Croatia 4-0 Cameroon
Croatia, following their unlucky defeat against Brazil, where a penalty was mistakenly given to the host nation, looked to avenge their defeat against a Cameroon side who were poor against Mexico. However from the opening minutes, it was all too clear who the better side was, with Ivica Olic’s goal in the 11th minute not undeserved by Croatia. As well as a poor display in the quality of Cameroon’s play, there was a poor display in their discipline and aggression, with captain Alex Song getting sent off when the game was still young for lashing out at Croat Mandzukic. A poor kick from the Cameroon keeper ended up at the feet of Ivan Perisic, who made it 2-0 just after half time. Mandzukic then scored with a powerful header from corner, and the same player then completed the victory with a tap in following the Cameroonian keeper’s spill of substitute Eduardo’s shot. This result will surely lift Croatia, and now they go into their final match against Mexico knowing that a win would see them through. Cameroon on the other hand were an mess, which descended into anarchy when two of their players locked heads with each other, and will certainly need to up their game against Brazil unless they want to be as much of an embarrassment as they were today.