Reigning FIFA World Cup™ holders Spain spectacularly crashed out of Brazil 2014 after they were beaten 2-0 by Chile to be left without a point after two matches in Group B, while the South Americans make the last 16. After a humbling 5-1 defeat against Netherlands in the first game for the Spanish, Xavi and Gerard Pique were sacrificed, but their rocky start continued as Chile had two great opportunities go ahead before even two minutes had been played.
The quick feet of Alexis Sanchez got their defence in a muddle, but Eduardo Vargas opted to take a touch, rather than shoot, seeing the ball ricochet just beyond the post off an Iberian leg. The danger did not end there though, as Sergio Busquets failed to clear the resulting corner, with Gonzalo Jara all alone to head inches wide of the top corner.
The South Africa 2010 winners had outscored the South Americans three to one in their previous ten meetings without defeat, but Jorge Sampaoli’s team tore them open with a goal the Europeans would have been proud of. Delightful interplay between Sanchez and Arturo Vidal sliced through the midfield, picking out Charles Aranguiz in the area. His cute pass inside found Varga,s who had the presence of mind to take a touch – eliminating Iker Casillas from the game – before slotting in past the sliding Xabi Alonso. It is arguably the team goal of the tournament so far.
Alonso and Diego Costa fired over and wide as La Furia Roja tried to restore parity. But the instant response the Spanish fans were hoping for did not arrive as Chilean intensity prevented Vincente Del Bosque’s side replicating either their mesmeric passing or suffocating possession that has brought them so much success.
Vidal recently described their style of play as “suicidal” to FIFA, however in the first-half it was anything but, frustrating the UEFA EURO 2012 winners – with an unnecessary foul by Xabi Alonso bringing about their second goal. Sanchez’s free-kick was poorly punched by Casillas to the feet of Aranguiz, trapping it superbly, who fired the ball beyond the despairing grasp of Spain’s record cap-holder.
Costa could have made the perfect start after the break, after a surgical Iniesta pass put him one-on-one with Claudio Bravo, only for the ball to get caught under his feet, allowing Mauricio Isla to put a last-ditch tackle. The Atletico Madrid forward turned creator as Busquets spurned an even better chance. Chile failed to clear a Sergio Ramos free-kick, and when the Brazilian-born forward’s spectacular bicycle kicked flash across goal, the Barcelona midfield missed from four yards with the goal at his mercy.
Chile visibly tired in the latter stages of their first outing at Brazil 2014, but while they soaked up Spanish pressure they were still dangerous on the break in the Maracana. Vargas picked out the overlapping Eugenio Mena on the left-hand side, and though his shot was going wide Isla slid it at the far post to fire narrowly over.
Substitute Santi Cazorla twice and Iniestaa tested Bravo from distance, but the goalkeeper was equal to them and it sealed a disastrous exit for Del Bosque’s boys.