Football

World Cup 2014: Group A and B Round-Up—Holland Down Brave Australia in a Thriller and Chile Signal the End of an Era by Eliminating Spain

GROUP A

Brazil 0-0 Mexico

The immense passion evident by Brazilian tears during the national anthems failed to translate to the Selecao’s play, as Mexico proved to be more than a match in a scoreless draw in Fortaleza on Tuesday.

In a goalless first-half, Neymar almost added to his two tournament goals as his header forced a superb save from Ochoa.

A sustained period of Mexican pressure in the second half meant Julio Caesar was kept on his toes. At the other end, Ochoa continued his heroics, which bodes well for his future since he is currently a free agent.

 

Croatia 4-0 Cameroon

Anchored by an imposing El Clasico axis, as Barcelona’s new man Ivan Ratikic partnered Real Madrid’s Luka Modric in central midfield, Croatia routed 10-man Cameroon as the Africans continued their continent’s poor start to the World Cup.

The Indomitable Lions lost their sixth consecutive game at a World Cup finals—becoming the first to do so since El Salvador in 1982.

Ivica Olic fired the Vatreni into the after 10 minutes and Alex Song made matters worse by lashing out at Mario Mandzukic to earn a red card—joining his uncle Rigobert with a World Cup dismissal to his name.

Chasing the game with one less player Cameroon suffered, as Croatia largely controlled the game scoring three additional goals—two from Mandzukic and one Ivan Perisic.

Cameroon who reportedly had a less than harmonious camp took their frustrations out on each other as Beniot Assou-Ekotto and Benjamin Moukandjo clashed during stoppage time.

Tension in the Cameroon camp reached breaking point

Tension in the Cameroon camp reached breaking point

Mexico take on Croatia next in a winner takes all clash and Cameroon have an intimidating fixture against Brazil.

GROUP B

Spain 0-2 Chile

Spain became the fifth defending champions to be eliminated at the first hurdle

Spain became the fifth defending champions to be eliminated at the first hurdle

Chile drew first blood through an Eduardo Vargas toe poke. By half-time they were on the brink of being the first team eliminated in 2014 as Iker Casillas inexplicably punched a shot straight to Charles Aranguiz who expertly finished for 2-0.

La Roja slightly improved in the second half but Chile remained the far better team. They pressed high, passed with purpose and possessed an unwavering desire to win.

In contrast, a lacklustre Spain became the fifth defending champion to be eliminated at the first hurdle of a World Cup and with it the end of an era.

 

Holland 3-2 Australia

Before taking on the formidable Dutch, Australia had to stomach a daunting statistic.

That said, in three previous meetings (all friendlies) Holland had never beaten Australia.

Arjen Robben scored his third goal of the World Cup to put Holland ahead, but 13 seconds from the resultant restart Tim Cahill thundered an exquisite left footed volley to equalise—straight from the Marco Van Basten scrapbook.

The Socceroos were unperturbed by one of the world’s best teams and their fans were in raptures after Mile Jedinak scored from the spot to lead 2-1 shortly after break.

Australia’s joy was short-lived as Robin Van Persie rifled in his third goal of the tournament and substitute Memphis Depay scored a long-range winner.

The Dutch held on to win resulting in the Socceroos losing their second match of the World Cup. Coupled with Chile’s win, the result meant Australia will not progress further than the group stage but Ange Postecoglou’s squad should hold their heads high after a superb display against the Oranje.

With both Holland and Chile now through to the knock-out rounds, their match will determine who finishes in Group B’s top spot.

COMING SOON

England battle Uruguay to gain the upper hand in Group D, and Ivory Coast

RELATED ARTICLES

GROUP A & B—Brazil dubiously beat Croatia While Holland Hammer Defending Champs Spain

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