N 0 CHILE 2
HOLDERS Spain crashed out of the World Cup last night becoming the fifth defending champions to fail to progress from the group stage.
Following their humiliating 5-1 defeat to Holland, boss Vincent del Bosque’s repeat attempt to move away from the trademark tiki-taka brand of football that had helped Spain win the last three major international tournaments in favour of a more direct approach proved their undoing again.
With Chelsea-bound striker Diego Costa struggling for sharpness in front of goal following a recent hamstring injury, it was Chile who proved most clinical as they progressed from Group B alongside Holland at the expense of Australia and the reigning world champions.
The South Americans ignored intense humidity to adopted a high energy approach and got their reward for persistent harrowing of Spain’s players with the opening goal on 20 minutes.
Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso surrendered possession inside his own half, sparking a counter attack which culminated with Eduardo Vargas side-stepping goalkeeper Iker Casillas before finishing into an empty net.
And two minutes before the interval Chile doubled their advantage. Casillas opted to punch away Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick, despite being well positioned to catch it and the loose ball fell to Charles Aranguiz who needed no second invitation to lash in.
Shortly after half-time Sergio Busquets missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back, turning Diego Costa’s acrobatic cross wide with the net gaping.
And a succession of long range efforts from Andres Iniesta and Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla failed to beat resilient goalkeeper Claudio Bravo on a sensational night for Chile and one to forget for Spain.