Defending champions Spain eliminated from World Cup after Chile defeat
Reigning FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship winners Spain have been eliminated from the finals in Brazil after a 2-0 loss to Chile in Rio de Janeiro.
Following a 5-1 defeat by the Netherlands in their opening Group B fixture, Vicente del Bosque’s side needed at least a draw to keep their hopes of progressing to the round of 16 alive but busy Chile ran them into the ground.
Valencia CF’s Eduardo Vargas finished a fine, intricate team move on 20 minutes before Charles Aránguiz returned an Iker Casillas punch with interest just before the interval.
Jordi Alba nudged Vargas’s effort round the post as Chile set a blistering pace from the off in Rio de Janeiro but, while Spain recovered their shape, they were unable to get much purchase on a busy Chilean defence.
They then conceded what was a superb team goal, Alexis Sánchez feeding the ball down the right for Aránguiz, whose unselfish ball across found Vargas. He wrong-footed Iker Casillas with one touch and threaded the ball into the net from ten metres with another.
Spain battled back; Xabi Alonso blasted over the bar after Diego Costa rolled the ball into his path, and the Club Atlético de Madrid striker then flicked into the side-netting after a promising move down the left.
However, Del Bosque was left with an even bigger headache as Aránguiz scored Chile’s second on 44 minutes, firing into the net with the outside of his boot after Casillas’s punch from Alexis Sánchez’s free-kick dropped at his feet just inside the area.
Koke replaced Xabi Alonso at the break, and Spain tore into Chile from the off; Diego Costa failed to get an effort on target as retreating defenders crowded him out in the box and Sergio Busquets then slashed at his shot with the goal gaping in front of him.
Diego Costa made way for Fernando Torres as the momentum waned and Chile might have made it 3-0 soon after, Mauricio Isla unable to get the ball on target at the back post after Eugenio Mena shot wide from the left.
Santi Cazorla’s arrival for Pedro Rodríguez on 76 minutes was the last throw of the dice. He drew a save from Claudio Bravo with a long shot, as did Andrés Iniesta, but neither could spark a wholesale revival.