Spain suffer humiliation of early exit after Chile loss
Thursday, 19th June 2014 at 02:23am
2010 World Cup winners Spain became just the fifth defending champions to be eliminated at the group stage in the 84-year history of the tournament after a 2-0 loss to Chile in Rio.
Goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Arnaguiz before halftime were enough to condemn La Roja to a second straight defeat - the first time a reigning champion has suffered that indignity.
It also means that Chile are through to the round of 16 with one game left to spare.
After their 5-1 humiliating loss to the Netherlands, coach Vicente del Bosque made two changes to his starting lineup, bringing in Javi Martinez and Pedro for Gerard Pique and Xavi, while keeping faith with captain Iker Casillas and striker Diego Costa.
It made little difference, however, as Chile tore into the 2010 winners and eventually opened the scoring when Vargas finished off a brilliant team move involving Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Arnaguiz who fed Vargas to dance around Casillas and slot home.
Spain responded but Xabi Alonso and Costa were unable to get their efforts on target when well placed and it proved costly when the former fouled Sanchez.
Vidal took the resulting free kick which was inexplicably punched straight to Arnaguiz by Casillas who placed the ball past the Real Madrid keeper for a 2-0 lead.
Spain needed to score the next goal and they weren't helped by a woeful miss by Sergio Busquets who somehow fired wide from five yards after good play by Costa.
That was as close as Spain came to finding the back of the net as they became the third defending champions in the past four finals to exit at the group stage.
They have now conceded seven goals in two games after shipping just six in total in their Euro 2008, 2012 and 2010 World Cup triumphs.
Chile with face the Netherlands next to determine who will top Group B after the Dutch beat Australia 3-2.
Arjen Robben put the Oranje into the lead in the 20th minute only for Tim Cahill to respond within a minute when he smashed a brilliant volley in off the crossbar.
Many expected Australia to be the group's whipping boys but they stunned Louis van Gaal's men when Mile Jedinak cooly slotted home a penalty after Daryl Janmaat was adjudged to have handled Oliver Bozanic's cross.
The Socceroos joy was short-lived, however, as Robin van Persie leveled the match four minutes later.
Mathew Leckie missed a good chance for Ange Postecoglou's side and that profligacy was punished by Memphis Depay fired home from long-range to seal a 3-2 win.
In the night's other game, Croatia thrashed Cameroon 4-0 in Manaus.
After opening game defeats another loss would send one team home early and Croatia got themselves in front albeit against the run of play when Ivica Olic netted in the 11th minute.
The Indomitable Lions started to work their way back into the game but their efforts were wasted when Alex Song stupidly got himself sent off for elbowing Mario Mandzukic in the back; the Barcelona man following his cousin Rigobert in being sent off at a World Cup.
Croatia made their man advantage count in the second half as goals from Ivan Perisic and a brace from Mandzukic saw them set up a winner-takes-all clash against Mexico for a place in the last 16.