European champion Spain beat 10-man Chile 2-1 at the World Cup to set up a round-of-16 game against Portugal. The Chileans also advanced and will face Brazil for a place in the quarterfinals.
David Villa and Andres Iniesta scored for Spain in Pretoria, South Africa last night. Substitute Rodrigo Millar’s deflected shot went in for Chile, which had Marco Estrada red-carded after 37 minutes. Portugal joined Brazil in advancing after tying 0-0 in their final group match.
Spain, which opened the tournament with a shock 1-0 loss to Switzerland, avoided playing record five-time champion Brazil by finishing atop Group H and will face Portugal on June 29.
“Now we are on the road to our dream, there’s a long way to go but we showed our quality,” Iniesta told reporters.
Switzerland and Honduras were eliminated yesterday after a 0-0 draw in Bloemfontein. The Ivory Coast was knocked out even after beating North Korea 3-0, meaning that Ghana is the only one of six African teams to progress at the first World Cup the continent has held. All five South American teams advanced.
Today, Uruguay plays South Korea in Port Elizabeth in the first match of the knockout round, before the U.S. faces Ghana in Rustenburg.
In Pretoria last night, Villa made it 1-0 after 27 minutes, shooting into an empty net from 40 yards after Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo came out of his goal to tackle Fernando Torres, pushing the ball right to the forward. Ten minutes later, Iniesta hit a side-footed shot in from 15 yards.
Trip on Torres
Chile had Estrada ejected after the goal for tripping Torres, his second yellow-card offense. Television replays showed the trip may have been accidental.
Chile dominated early on and Jean Beausejour hit into the side netting from five yards out. Two minutes after halftime, Chile substitute Millar’s 20-yard shot looped into the net after deflecting off defender Gerard Pique.
“We need to step it up” against Portugal, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said in a televised interview. “It won’t be easy.”
In Durban, some fans in the crowd jeered after the game between Brazil and Portugal. Seven yellow cards were shown in the first half for violent play, arguing and other infractions, while the teams combined for eight shots on target.
“It was a tough match,” Portugal’s former world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo told reporters. “We are ready for the next round.”
Portugal’s Brazil-born defender Pepe and Felipe Melo were cautioned on separate occasions for fouling each other. Brazil coach Carlos Dunga took Melo off before halftime. There were no further yellow cards in the second half.
“It has been an extremely hard World Cup,” Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz said. “The players dispute every centimeter of the field.”
Brazil had 63 percent of possession and 12 shots in the first half, double Portugal’s tally. Brazil came closest to scoring when Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo pushed Nilmar’s five- yard shot onto the post after 30 minutes.
Ronaldo helped Portugal improve in the second half. He ran down the left wing and his cross was intercepted by Brazil captain Lucio after 48 minutes.
Brazil almost snatched the victory in stoppage time. Goalkeeper Eduardo palmed away a 15-yard deflected shot by Brazil substitute Ramires to keep the game scoreless.
“Portugal defended from the midfield backwards which made it difficult for us to penetrate their defense,” Brazil coach Dunga told reporters.
Ivory Coast Out
In Nelspruit, the Ivory Coast needed a 9-goal swing and a Portuguese loss to move on. They scored twice in the first 20 minutes, and had many first-half chances before the North Koreans tightened their defense after the break.
The Africans got goals from Romaric, Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou. Toure scored in the 14th minute and 6 minutes later the team got another one when Romaric headed in a rebound from captain Didier Drogba, who had hit the crossbar. Kalou scored in the 82nd minute, flicking the ball past the goalkeeper.
North Korea ends its first World Cup since 1966 without a point and having allowed 12 goals in three games.