By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Holland have finished top of Group B in the 2014 FIFA World Cup after a 2-0 win over Chile at the Arena Corinthians this afternoon. Second half goals from Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay did the damage for the Dutch as they won all three games in the group stage, and will now face the runner-up from Group A on June 29th at the Arena Castelão in Fortaleza.
Chile, who finished with six points from their three games, will take on the winners of Group A on June 28th at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Pushing for the win in the second half they were hit by the pace and accurate crossing of Arjen Robben in the closing stages.
The South Americans enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but failed to make it pay. Holland, who would have finished top with a draw due to a superior goal difference, were happy to sit back and soak up pressure before making the mark late on.
Robin van Persie was missing for Holland through suspension but the talents of Robben and the experience of Dirk Kuyt were immeasurable assets. Robben had the best chance of the first half, forcing a fingertip save from Claudio Bravo in the Chilean goal.
With the score still goalless at the interval Chile needed to take affirmative action after the restart. Coach Jorge Sampaoli took off defender Franciso Silva for playmaker Valdivia to add more creativity to the midfield. Yet Silva’s exit left space for the Dutch to exploit. On 77 minutes they took the lead win, Fer was allowed to jump unmarked to head the opening goal from Daryl Janmaat’s cross.
Sampaoli did not dither on the touchline, sending on another forward in Mauricio Pinilla, a strong target man to control long balls launched into the penalty area. The ploy backfired. Two minutes into injury time, Nigel de Jong released Robben, whose pace took him away from the defense to cross for Depay to put the result beyond doubt.
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