By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – World champions Spain are out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup after losing 2-0 to Chile at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro this afternoon (June 18th). An apathetic showing saw the 2010 winners become the first nation to exit the tournament in one of the greatest shocks of the modern era.
Chile were deserved winners and guaranteed their passage, alongside Holland after this result, in the final sixteen. As they are in Group B they will be drawn against one of two sides from Group A, and on this showing Luiz Felipe Scolari and Brazil will not relish a date with their South American neighbors.
This was a must-win game for Spain but it was Chile who dictated the early tempo. They went ahead after nineteen minutes when Eduardo Vargas was put through in front of goal, side-stepped goalkeeper Iker Casillas and slotted home.
Diego Costa spurned a chance for the Europeans but just before half-time Chile had doubled their lead. Casillas opted to punch Alexis Sanchez’s swerving free-kick, but the ball fell straight at the feet of Aránguiz.
The Internacional midfielder toe punted the ball towards goal, catching Casillas off guard and thus not making up the ground fast enough. Spain now had the proverbial mountain to climb. Koke came on for Xabi Alonso at the break to add some dynamism to the Spanish midfield. Sergio Busqets had their best chance of the second half, somehow contriving to volley wide from just four yards.
As Chile soaked up the pressure competently as the second half clock wound down, their back three performed heroically against Spain’s plethora of world-class stars. Their early elimination signals the end of their era of tika-taka dominance.
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