Subs secure top spot for Dutch
Leroy Fer (AP)
Sao Paulo - The Netherlands staged a late assault with goals from Leroy Fer and
Memphis Depay to beat Chile 2-0 and finish top of World Cup Group B on
As it happened: Netherlands v Chile
The Dutch were left hoping that their third straight victory would help them avoid cup hosts Brazil in the second round.
first international goal on 77 minutes and Depay's in injury time
brought a rousing finish to a game often held in check by World Cup
In the day's other Group B game, Spain beat Australia 3-0
in an encounter with no bearing as both sides are already eliminated.
David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scored for a drastically
changed Spanish team that is bound to be a sign of a revolution to come.
Netherlands and Chile had both qualified for the round of 16, but top
place was crucial to hopes of avoiding Brazil, who were likely to win
Both started cautiously in bright sun at a packed and noisy Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.
Robin van Persie suspended, Dynamo Kiev's Jeremain Lens made his World
Cup debut up front for the Dutch and Fenerbahce veteran Dirk Kuyt came
in for Jonathan De Guzman, who was on a yellow card.
Juventus's Arturo Vidal, who was one card away from suspension, but
took a chance on fit-again midfielder Charles Aranguiz, who was also on a
A slip by Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez let Chile's first
dangerous moment go begging when Aranguiz's dummy surprised him on the
edge of the box.
The Netherlands' best early moment came when
Wesley Sneijder had a long-distance free-kick parried by Claudio Bravo
at his near post. Aranguiz was dispossessed twice in quick succession as
the Netherlands came alive, forcing Chile into some scrambled
A moment of magic nearly put the Dutch ahead when on 40
minutes, Sneijder won the ball from Marcelo Diaz and fed Robben, who
shrugged off Gonzalo Jara and charged forward.
defenders backed off, the Bayern Munich forward rode Gary Medel's
challenge and surged into the box but with space to shoot, he dragged
his shot wide.
Chile nearly took the lead a minute before
half-time when Gutierrez rose to meet Diaz's corner from deep and nodded
a back-header narrowly wide.
Gutierrez gave way to Wigan
Athletic's Jean Beausejour at the break but although Sanchez tried to
inject some energy, with some unproductive step-overs and a shot from
distance, the second half the deadlock remained total.
the hour-mark, Sanchez had a penalty shout turned down by Gambian
referee Bakary Gassama. Moments later the dangerou striker
then nutmegged Lens on the byline and warmed goalkeeper Jasper
Cillessen's hands with a shot from a tight angle. At the other end,
Robben tried his luck from distance as the tempo and noise level rose.
came off for for PSV Eindhoven forward Depay, scorer of the winner
against Australia, and Chile's Jorge Valdivia replaced Francisco Silva
in the last 20 minutes.
Sneijder withdrew for Fer and the Norwich
City midfielder provided the spark the Dutch needed. Two minutes later,
he met a Daryl Janmaat's cross from the right with a huge leap and
planted his header inside the post.
Chile pressed for the
equaliser and during a sequence of corners, Sanchez had another penalty
shout waved away following a tangle with Dutch enforcer Nigel De Jong.
as Chile poured forward, Robben galloped into space on the left and his
cross from near the byline was met by the sliding Depay to make sure of
an ultimately deserved win.
In Curitiba, Villa became the fourth
Spanish player to score in three World Cup when he backheeled home
Juanfran's low cross for his 59th international goal in his 97th and
final appearance as Spain finally got a win.
Andres Iniesta marked
his 100th cap for his country with a lovely through ball for Torres to
double Spain's advantage on 69 minutes before Mata slotted home a third
eight minutes from time.
Victory means Spain finished third in
Group B behind the Netherlands and Chile, whilst Australia slipped to a
third consecutive defeat.
The Aussies had started with the energy
that had characterised their two encouraging performances against Chile
and the Netherlands, but without the suspended Tim Cahill lacked a
threat in the final third.