Spain, Chile Into Last 16
Spain's David Villa (right) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with teammates
This encounter between the former colonial master Spain and its subject Chile was bound to be a spicy one.
It was the Spanish who left as the conquerors, defeating Chile 2-1 to finish at the summit of Group H and set up a round of 16 tie with historical rivals Portugal.
Chile, in spite of losing the game, are also through to the knockout round as Switzerland could only draw with Honduras. They will now meet South American foes Brazil in their next game.
Spain began the game desperate to get themselves in the driving seat early on. The game began at a fast pace and it took a mistake by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to gift David Villa the game’s opening goal in the 25th minute.
Twelve minutes later the industrious Andres Iniesta, who was named Man of the Match, finished off a move he had initially started to put Spain 2-0 up. At the same time, Chile had Marco Estrada sent off.
The South Americans managed to score a goal early in the second half through substitute Rodrigo Millar but Spain held out to win the game.
Fernando Torres knocked two chances over the Chilean cross bar in the opening five minutes. Chile responded by cutting Spain’s defence open in the 10th minute with a dissecting through ball which allowed Jean Beausejour to move into space on the right – he squared the ball across goal to Mark Gonzalez who blazed his close range volley over Iker Casillas’ goal.
Casillas was called into action again. First up, he saved a long range effort from Estrada which took a deflection off Ramos on its way to him. A minute after that he had to back track to push Alexis Sanchez’s chip towards goal out for a corner.
In the 25th minute Torres was played into space down the left wing – Chilean keeper Bravo came way out of his area to stop him. He managed to get the ball away, but all he did was play it into the path of Villa. The striker dispatched the ball from a distance of 40 yards over Bravo and into the goal.
On 35 minutes Beausejour broke away from Pique down the left wing and took a shot at goal, but Casillas was able to get the slightest of touches onto the ball and averted the danger by putting it out for a corner.
Spain further increased their lead in the 37th minute. Iniesta began the move just past the half way line and played a short pass to Torres, who passed the ball back to him.
As Torres ran forward he was merely grazed by Estrada and went down. Iniesta, though, carried on and played the ball to Villa, who was to his left. He held the ball up and played it back to Iniesta, who drove the ball across goal, past Bravo to double Spain’s lead.
If conceding a second goal was not misery enough for Chile, Referee Marco Rodriguez handed Estrada his second yellow card for the foul on Torres and Chile were reduced to ten men.
Two minutes into the second half and Millar, who had come on as a half time substitute for Mark Gonzalez, found a goal for Chile. His shot from the edge of the Spain 18-yard area deflected off Pique’s knee and flew wide of Casillas into the net.
Iniesta battled his way past the defence on 52 minutes and played the ball to Villa on the left. His testing driven effort at goal had Bravo diving down to smother the ball.
Spain were turning on the class it took a desperate tackle from Poncho on Villa right in front of goal in the 62nd minute to halt the Valencia hit man from scoring his second goal.
For the final quarter of the game Spain seemed content with keeping hold of the ball and played it around, tiring Chile out as they chased the ball around just as instructed by coach Vicente Del Bosque, who urged them to be calm and play out the game for the win.
This tactic seemed to irritate the Chilean fans. In the end, though, there were celebrations for both teams as they move on to the next round.