FINAL: Chile 2, Spain 0 | MatchTracker
Defending World Cup champion Spain was eliminated following a stunning 2-0 defeat to the Chileans. Spain becomes the third consecutive European winner of the World Cup to lose in the group stages the following tournament, after France in 2002 and Italy in 2010.
Wednesday's shock defeat at Maracana Stadium -- the site of the World Cup final -- also marks the end of the Spanish reign, having won the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
Historically unprecedented, the loss also makes Spain the first defending World Cup champion to be eliminated after only two games. A campaign that began with such promise against the 2010 runner-up flamed out in miraculously appalling style.
Chile, which secured its advance to the knockout round having also defeating Australia 3-1 in the opening match, scored in the 19th minute and then again in the 43rd minute to stake a commanding 2-0 lead. Spain, which has yet to face Australia, goes into its final match having yielded seven goals in two games.
The backline, long a staple of the Spanish dynasty, ultimately failed Vicente del Bosque. It conceded five goals against the Netherlands, prompting a change in the starting lineup, which proved futile. Chile's Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz scored the two first half goals and Spain didn't mount much of a comeback until it was too late, and even then it couldn't crack Claudio Bravo's net.
Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso, all pillars of Spain's run, weren't nearly as effective on Wednesday as they've been in the past few years. After Chile built its lead, it stood nine or ten men behind the ball to protect it. Spain's touch was uncharacteristically off, its passing not as easy and confident, and its confidence was clearly off coming on the heels of the opening-match pounding. The 2-0 defeat was the last meaningful game Iniesta, Xavi, Fernando Torres, David Villa and Iker Casillas will likely play for their team. Some will second-guess del Bosque's decision to bring so many returning veterans from the 2010 roster, but no one, no one predicted this sort of collapse.
Part of it was the defense, while some blame can be assessed to the Spanish strikers.
Sergio Busquets missed a golden opportunity off a gorgeous bicycle kick from newly-minted forward Diego Costa (who spurned Brazil for the chance to play for Spain), and Costa himself showed poor form in front of the net as well. But the failures of Spain shouldn't overshadow or diminish the spectacular defense from the Chileans.
All their stars -- Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Charles Aranguiz -- contributed on both ends of the field, likely the only way Chile was going to beat the champs. But once it was over, there was no doubt Chile deserved its three points. Chile faced twice as many shots but because of its all-hands-on-deck approach, few were of any danger. Chile, in contrast, had a number of chances inside the six as the Spanish line became more aggressive and thus more porous.
Chile's win is vital in that it keeps pace with the Dutch, which beat Australia 3-2 on Wednesday. It sets up the final group match between Chile and the Netherlands. The winner could face Mexico in the knockout round, but the loser could likely face Brazil. While Spain's dream is gone, both Chile and the Netherlands have much to play for.
92' -- Ramos with a one-timer from six yards out, but it's blocked. They can't catch a break.
90' -- Six minutes of added time, but that's not enough for Spain to save its dream.
86' -- Chile fans are chanting "E-li-min-a-do!!!" They know what this win would mean.
84' -- Great flying save from Bravo off a curling Iniesta blast. Chile fighting hard to keep the clean sheet.
82' -- Chile has never beaten Spain, but the way its closing out this game (feigning injuries to buy time) isn't exactly a good look.
81' -- Cazorla follows that up with a right-footed blast, barely saved by Bravo. Another corner coming.
80' -- Another break for the Spanish that leads to nothing. Iniesta, Silva and Cazorla all with touches, and it was almost too much passing and not enough going forward.
78' -- Spain's touch just hasn't been there. Even Iniesta hasn't been solid on the ball. Another great clearance from Isla in the back.
75' -- Spanish players getting frustrated with each bogus injury claim from the Chilean players. Can't blame them.
73' -- Chile continues attacking, and at this point, tough to conceive Spain has enough to get its necessary goals. Doesn't help that any time a Chilean player goes down, it takes a few minutes for him to recover.
68' -- Vidal shoots it wide right and Isla barely misses a third goal for Chile, flipping it over the bar. Spain looks demoralized.
66' -- Spain still showing good possession, and it's tough to believe they're not going to get one soon. But a second? A third? Doubtful.
62' -- SUBS: Costa loses the ball again up top, and Torres is coming in for him. Aranguiz coming out for Felipe Gutierrez.
61' -- Chile MF Mena draws a yellow.
59' -- The ball has not left Chile's final third, and I don't expect it to for the majority of this half.
56' -- Aranguiz being stretchered off. Didn't see much on the challenge. That, my loyal readers, is how you milk the clock.
How to miss from two yards out:
52' -- Ramos takes the kick straight at Bravo, but Diego Costa bicycled the rebound across the face of the goal. Busquets missed a WIDE-OPEN tap in. Brutal.
51' -- Free kick coming from just outside the box after Vidal takes down Pedro. Couldn't ask for more chances to start, if you're Spain.
50' -- Sounds as if Fernando Torres may be coming in for Spain. Missed a golden opportunity to score against Netherlands, although by that time, it didn't much matter.
48' -- Iniesta with a beautiful angled pass to Costa in the middle of two Chilean defenders and he can't get a shot off. Corner coming, but that was an excellent chance.
46' -- Spain comes out firing. Their passing is quicker. The movement is better, but still no great chances. Definitely a sense of urgency.
HALFTIME: Chile 2, Spain 0
Well, Spain's World Cup dreams come down to this next half. Simple as that. If it doesn't score two goals, it's mathematically eliminated. If it's only able to draw against Chile, it's all but eliminated thanks to goal differential. Basically, Spain needs three goals in this second half without conceding any.
Seriously, who would have thought that Spain would be outscored 7-1 throughout the first 135 minutes of the World Cup? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Chile attacked Spain's vulnerable backline from the outset. Eduardo Vargas toe-tapped in the first goal at the 19th minute, and Chile's defense withstood moderate pressure from Spain's strikers. It looked as if Chile would hold a one goal lead going into halftime but a late foul gave Alexis Sanchez a chance from just outside the box. He drilled a shot that Casillas deflected directly to Charles Aranguiz, who gave the upstart Chileans some more breathing room.
If Spain can't mount a comeback, it could very well signal the end of the Spanish reign atop international football.
Chile's second goal --
Spain has been outscored 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup.
43' -- CHILE GOALLLLLLLL!! GOL!! GOLL! GOL!!! Sanchez curls one in off the set kick which Casillas deflected out. Aranguiz cleans it up for the second goal! Why, oh, why did Casillas punch it to the middle?
42' -- Sanchez draws a foul a few yards outside the box. Can they earn some separation from Spain?
40' -- Xavi Alonso draws a yellow with a late challenge on Mauricio Isla in the midfield. Sensing some Spanish frustration.
38' -- Spain's definitely possessing the ball more (60-40, perhaps), but Chile's defense has either forced the attackers into bad angles or blocked the crosses. Only a handful of significant chances.
Game getting increasingly physical as the pressure continues to mount. Tough to distinguish between actual fouls and flops, though. Lots of both.
Costa nearly tied up the game a few moments ago --
31' -- Again, a huge team effort from Chile as it defends a free kick and clears a rebound opportunity. Whole backline and midfielders swarming to the ball.
29' -- Nine guys back in the box for Chile as it halts some cleverness from Iniesta. All hands on deck to protect this lead.
27' -- Costa knocks a one-timer into the outside netting, but some of the crowd thought it was in ... including Iker Casillas.
27' -- Vidal picks up a yellow card.
26' -- Pedro attacking up the right flank but a heavy touch renders the sequence useless. Goal kick for Bravo. Certainly not the start Spain envisioned.
Key question is how or how quickly Spain can respond. Obviously if this result holds, Spain's World Cup is over. This match, however, is far from that.
VARGAS'S GOAL --
19' -- GOALL!!!! CHILE'S EDUARDO VARGAS!!! Aranguiz tapped it to Vargas in front of Casillas and Vargas poked it in. Goal set up from a bad turnover in the midfield by Xabi Alonso.
17' -- Great work from Sergio Ramos in the back as he fends off a deep pass to Alexis Sanchez in the air. Could've been trouble, but after the first few minutes, Spain's backline has noticeably settled down.
15' -- Diego Costa holds onto the ball a bit too long and can't pull the trigger against Bravo. Xavi Alonso could've scored off the rebound but Bravo makes a goal-saving stop. Chile hanging strong, but Claudio Bravo's wrist may be hurting after that save.
12' -- Tiki-taka is in full effect as Spain has progressed up the field using their signature one-touch passing. Pedro with some good early activity, showing for the ball up top and easing the pressure of its strong midfielders.
9' -- Keep an eye on Spanish striker Diego Costa. If he's not active early, he could have a short leash after a suspect showing in the opening game.
8' -- Sanchez takes down Iniesta from the back, sets up a long free kick that Bravo punches away.
6' -- Great work from Chile striker Alexis Sanchez, holding the ball in the attacking third. Certanly Chile's biggest scoring threat. He knocked one in against Australia.
5' -- There's no doubt Chile wants to expose Spain's new pairing in the back. Remember, Pique is out after the Netherlands game. Zero intimidation on either side.
1' -- Spain ALMOST concedes an own goal. It leads to a corner that Chile nearly pounded in. Awful start. Chile probably should've scored.
1' -- We're off from Maracana, where both teams hope to be for the World Cup final.
PREGAME: Quickly, here's what's at stake. If Chile wins, defending champion Spain is out of the World Cup. Both Chile and the Netherlands (beat Australia 3-2 on Wednesday) would advance after just two games.
If they draw, Spain is still in a massive hole since it would need to overcome a huge goal differential and hope that Chile loses to the Netherlands (while also beating Australia themselves).
It's essentially a must-win for Spain. If it wins, it needs to hope that Chile loses to the Netherlands to continue the World Cup dream. The tie-break (should each team have six points) is on goals, not head-to-head.
Vicente del Bosque opted to keep Iker Casillas in goal against Chile despite a disastrous showing against the Netherlands. Center back Gerard Pique and midfielder Xavi are each out, replaced by Javi Martinez and Pedro. The central defense looked particularly lost against the Netherlands and Chile's strikers are nearly as dangerous -- hence del Bosque's changes.
Chile's starters: Bravo, Medel, Silva, Jara, Isla, Aranguiz, Diaz, Mena, Vargas, Vidal, Sanchez
Spain's starters: Casillas, Alba, Ramos, Martinez, Azpilcueta, Busquets, Alonso, Iniesta, Pedro, Silva, Costa
Bizarre start to Spain-Chile Group B match as more than a hundred Chile fans stormed into Maracana Stadium and wound up in the press center.
Mayhem in the Rio Maracana press centre as a group of approx 100 to 150 fans storm media centre trying to get into Chile v Spain.
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) June 18, 2014
Here's some of the aftermath:
— Cody Brunner (@crbrun) June 18, 2014
Another bizarre image:
Chile vs. Spain (Group B) | Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET | Stadium: Maracana, Rio de Janeiro
Match Preview: After getting trounced by 2010 runner-up Netherlands, Spain is in an absolute must-win situation against Chile. The goal differential between the two is likely insurmountable so a draw won't do. It simply must win.
Spain's backline looked incredibly shaky against the Dutch strikers, and Vicente del Bosque may consider making some changes to his starting lineup, including perhaps sitting Gerard Pique. Strikers Diego Costa and David Silva didn't capitalize on their opportunities, either, so who knows whether they'll be in the starting XI.
The other possible change was in the net following Iker Casillas' horrible performance. The problem there is that backup David De Gea strained a leg muscle over the weekend meaning that the third stringer, Pepe Reina, would be del Bosque's other option.
Chile isn't concerned about what problems the defending champion may or may not be facing. Instead, it's focused on building off its 3-1 victory over Australia. Attackers Jorge Valdivia and Alexis Sanchez each showed their touch inside the box as they tallied a pair of goals against the Socceroos. Midfielder Arturo Vidal possesed the ball well, too, when he was on the field.
One has to wonder about the relative confidence levels of the two squads. These teams met in group play in 2010 with Spain taking the edge 2-1. They've met 10 times in history and Chile has never won. Might that change at Maracana on Wednesday?