Spain lost 2-0 to Chile yesterday to become the first World Cup title holder to be eliminated before its final group game. The Netherlands won to stay top of Group B and Croatia ousted 10-man Cameroon with a 4-0 rout.
First-half goals from Charles Aranguiz and Eduardo Vargas won the game for Chile at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Chile advances to the round of 16 with the Netherlands, which beat Australia 3-2 in Porto Alegre.
After a 5-1 defeat in its opening match against the Dutch - - the worst start for a champion in tournament history -- two-time defending European champion Spain needed at least a draw to have a chance to stay in the tournament.
“It’s a sad day for all of us,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told reporters. “We were inferior to both Holland and Chile. They got the goals and gave us a mountain to climb.”
The only other champions to be eliminated at the group stage of the following World Cup were Italy in 1950 and 2010, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002.
The Dutch and Chile will play June 23 to decide the Group B winner. After two matches, the Netherlands leads Chile on goal difference, while Spain is last, behind Australia.
Today, England plays Uruguay in Sao Paulo in Group D and Greece takes on Japan in Natal in Group C. All four teams lost their opening matches. The day’s other game pitches Group C leaders Colombia and Ivory Coast against each other in Brasilia.
Chile’s first goal came when Vargas slipped the ball past goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 20th minute after controlling a pass from Aranguiz, who made it 2-0 just before halftime when he collected a rebound from Casillas and toed the ball into the Spanish goal.
An hour into the match, the crowd -- consisting of mostly Chile supporters and Brazilians -- started to do celebratory waves, calling “Ole” with each Chilean touch.
It was Chile’s first victory in 10 matches against Spain stretching back to 1950, the last time the World Cup was held in Brazil.
“I’m proud of the way we played to put out the world champions,” Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli told reporters. “It was a great win over a great team.”
Diego Costa, a Brazilian who chose to play for his adopted Spain over the country of his birth, was booed when he was replaced by Fernando Torres with 25 minutes to go.
In the day’s first match, the Netherlands came back to defeat Australia 3-2.
Second-half goals from Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay allowed the Dutch to recover from a 2-1 deficit. Depay scored with a swerving 30-yard (27-meter) shot in the 67th minute to put the Netherlands in front.
Australia took a 53rd-minute lead when Mile Jedinak scored from the penalty spot after Daryl Janmaat was ruled to have handled the ball. The Dutch came back four minutes later to tie the game when Van Persie scored with a left-footed shot.
It was the second sequence of rapid goals in the match. In the first half, Australia’s Tim Cahill scored with a volley a minute after Arjen Robben controlled a bouncing ball near the halfway line and sprinted past defenders to score after 20 minutes.
The top two teams in each pool move on, with the winner of the group playing the runner-up of another. The winner of Group B will play the runner-up of Group A, which could be Brazil or Mexico.
Brazil and Mexico are tied atop Group A with four points each after they played out a goalless draw two days ago. Croatia has three points and Cameroon has none. Croatia faces Mexico and Brazil takes on Cameroon on June 23 in games that will decide who finishes first and second in the pool.
Croatia took the lead in yesterday’s third game in Manaus on an Ivica Olic goal after 11 minutes and Cameroon was reduced to 10 men just before halftime when Alex Song was shown a red card for striking out at Mario Mandzukic. Ivan Perisic scored early in the second half before Mandzukic added two more goals to end Cameroon’s tournament.