Home Uncategorized WORLD CUP 2014 – MATCH REPORT – SPAIN v CHILE




By Andrew Collins 

match 20 - spain chile


FINAL SCORE:   SPAIN   0        CHILE    2


Adios Spana‘ read a Chilean fan’s plaque as the final whistle went. Goodbye Spain indeed. An ‘ignominious end’ said Gary Lineker – and it was. The defending champions never recovered from the 5-1 thrashing by the Netherlands in the third match of the tournament. Chile were by far the stronger and more accomplished team, never letting up, scoring two vital goals in the first half. It looked like Spain entered the pitch with a defeatist attitude which Chile remorselessly exploited and Spain, although briefly, never properly remedied. Chilean fans swelled the Estádio Maracanã in Rio (so eager were they to watch about a 100 tried to actually break into the stadium). It wasn’t a quiet match.


It looked bad for Spain from the first whistle. Within minutes, Chile were in their box and pressuring their opponents, never letting them get started. They kept possession well and were strong in front. Spain just weren’t playing as you would expect them to given the importance of this match. Their balls were consistently intercepted by the canny Chilean side, denying Silva and Costa their runs. Costa got through in the 15th minute, but his shot went wide. Alonso picked it up, but it was a great block from Chile’s goalkeeper Bravo.

Spain’s poor performance was punished in the 20th minute. Alonso lost possession near the halfway line, Sanchez pounced on it and sent a searing pass to Aranguiz inside the box. Aranguiz flicked it sideways to Vargus. The keeper committed but Vargus kept his cool, flicked it around the prone goalie, and belted it in. A fantastic tricky three pass set-up, and Chile were in the lead. Santiago must have gone into meltdown.

Finally Spain perked up from their near coma and started fighting back. Fouls and body-checks came thick and fast, with Vidal getting Chile’s first yellow card. In turn, Iniesta was fouled by Diaz. The game got more frenetic, neither side managed to get much headway against each other. Chile, massively hyped up, played very risky defence and dropped back to check Spain’s attacks.

The last minutes really heated up – a great long ball in from Costa for Spain, but they never managed to capitalise on their possession properly and made all kinds of silly mistakes, including getting a yellow card in the 41st minute (a dodgy two foot tackle by Alonso). Chile pressed Spain hard and very effectively neutralised their runs. Their morale was sky-high.

Their second goal came in the 43rd minute. Another bad tackle by Alonso, born of pure frustration, won Chile a free kick just outside the box. Castilas, Spain’s goalie, punched the ball out – a terrible mistake – Aranguiz picked it up and scored.

Spain, white hot angry (it’s surprising the pitch didn’t ignite) got a slim chance just before the first half ends. Vidal’s over-zealous challenge handed a glimmer of light to Spain as they got a free kick just outside Chile’s box. Could they get back in the game? No. The ball arced high over the goal tracing Spain‘s imminent demise.

World Champions Spain ended the first half two goals down – an absolutely terrible and possibly mortal score line. Although they still had good options on the bench, it looked like the powerful Chilean storm front had all but washed away any chances of qualification for later rounds.


This was Spain’s last roll of the die. They had a steep hill to climb – three goals required and the need to absolutely prevent Chile from scoring again. It wasn’t impossible – it had been done before and they haven’t lost back to back internationals for eight years. They bought off the reckless Alonso and replaced him with midfielder Koke.

A much better start this time, Spain went at Chile fast and furiously. Good frontal assaults and much better passing. Chile, on the other hand, weren’t as self possessed as in the first half. A great chance came for Diego Costa in the 49th minute, but he scuffed it right outside the goal. Corner was given, Spain had another go, but Bravo punched it away. Alba picked it up, but again shot wide. It just wasn’t Spain’s night. Although electrified now and having the majority of possession, with excellent runs by Iniesta, they just couldn’t find the right form or finish.

Again, in the 52nd minute they earned a free kick just outside the area. Ramos shot poorly and again Spain failed to dent the score line. Even an awful punched clearance by Chile‘s goalkeeper gave them no advantage as Busquets missed a gift of chance just in front of goal, hoofing it wide.

Even with Chile doing silly short balls and pointless flicks rather than time wasting passing as they should have gave Spain no relief. They continued attacking, sometimes upsetting Chilean defence but nothing ever came of it. Chile nearly made it three nil in the 68th minute with a great chance for Isna, but it ended in a slide.

In the last 20 minutes, Spain looked tired and somewhat resigned to their fate. Chile started play acting, completely unnecessarily given their lead. Perhaps it was mind games? Spain managed to get a few shots on target, but nothing to really test the keeper. 90 minutes were up, and they had not produced. A surprising six minutes of extra time was added, causing huge consternation from the Chilean coach and a quiver of hope from the Spanish team boss. There was still time, there was still time …

But not the quality. Inexplicably, though Ramos, Alba and Torres had chances, the ball seemed magnetised against the goal each time; deflecting away, soaring wide or overhead. For such experienced players, it was unforgivable and lethal.

The final whistle went. All over and a hideously ignoble end for the reigning champions.


Spain should have bought Villa and / or Torres on from the get-go to try and score early goals to restore confidence. They had clearly not recovered composure from the drubbing by the Netherlands and it was evident from the beginning. Chile fully capitalised on this lack of confidence whilst also playing superb attacking football with strong game play pretty much throughout. What an incredible result for them; surely they will emerge group winners.

Extremely poor finishing by the Spanish team – they could have got three goals at least had they had the gravitas and composure to slot the balls in properly. A decidedly sad end to their reign. Not so much a quiet walk into the sunset as a fall off a cliff, and it looked uncomfortably like suicide.

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