It was another thrilling day of World Cup action yesterday, with eleven goals being scored in three games. The Netherlands kicked us off with a 3-2 victory over a gutsy Australia side, who leave the tournament with their heads held high.
The first goal came when Arjen Robben, managed to escape a challenge on the halfway line, he then ran the length of the half before slotting past Matt Ryan, in the Australia goal.
A minute later however, the Socceroos were level. A long punt forward into the box was met by Tim Cahill, who hit a stunning first time volley with his left foot, which cracked the crossbar on it's way into the goal.
Sadly, however, Cahill later went on to pick up a booking for a clumsy challenge on Bruno Martins Indi, which means he will Australia's final game against Spain. The same fate was in store for Robin Van Persie too, who also picked up his second booking of the competition, so he'll miss Netherlands' last group game against Chile.
In to the second half, Austrailia won a penalty when Oliver Bozanic's cross was blocked by the hand of Daryl Janmaat. It may have been a bit harsh on the Dutch defender as his arms didn't move towards the ball, but ultimately, he blocked a cross with his arm, so a definite penalty for me.
Aussie captain Mile Jedinak claimed the penalty, and dispatched it excellently into the bottom left corner to put Austrailia in front. We're yet to a missed penalty so far in the competition, England to miss the first one?
Unfortunatley, Austrailia's lead didn't last long, Memphis Depay, found an unmarked Van Persie in the box, who turned and blasted the ball into the roof of the net for the equaliser.
21 year old Depay would go on to earn the win for the Netherlands, ten minuted later. He picked up the ball and from near on thirty yards out he shot on goal, his effort bending out of the reach of Ryan, and into the bottom corner, to give the Netherlands the lead and qualify them to the last 16.
Full Time: Australia 2-3 Netherlands
21 - Cahill 20 - Robben
54 - Jedinak (P) 58 - Van Persie
68 - Depay
MOTM: Memphis Depay
SPAIN ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP. That's right, the World and European champions, the team I have for three of my World Cup predictions, are out of the tournament after a spineless, pathetic performance against Chile.
Now, don't get me wrong, Chile were fantastic, they didn't allow Spain to play their game whilst sill playing theirs, and came away with a fully deserved victory and a place in the last 16.
Two goals in the first half were enough for Chile to overcome Spain. The first goal came about when Xabi Alonso lost possession in his own half, then a series of passes between Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal resulted in the ball finding Charles Aranguiz in the box, he played the ball across the face of goal to Eduardo Vargas, whose first touch took him away from Casialls, and allowed him to stick the ball into the goal.
The second goal came as a result of woeful goalkeeping from Casillas, on what very could be his last game for Spain, judging on his performances in the last two games. Sanchez took a free kick from slightly right of the goal, about twenty or so yards out, instead of catching the ball or at the very least, punching out wide, he punched it straight to Aranguiz, who took a touch to steady himself before scoring with a wonderful outside-of-the-boot finish, which was just out of Casillas' reach.
The teams went in at half time with the score at 2-0, and that's how the game would finish due to a sterling performance of discipline, athleticism and team cohesion from the Chileans. Vidal, especially, who completely bossed a Spanish midfield comprised of world class players.
Spain should have brought a goal back however, when Sergio Busquets missed an open goal from five yards out. Of all the people on the pitch, that's the one person you wouldn't want a golden chance falling to.
Claudio Bravo, twice had to deny La Roja, firstly from a curling Santi Cazorla shot, after he was teed up by Andre Iniesta, 25 yards from goal. Then from Iniesta himself, after the little Spaniard hit a looping shot, which Bravo tipped over the bar.
The final whistle blew and Spain were out of the World Cup, which sets up a mouth watering tie between Netherlands and Chile, to see who tops Group B.
Ultimately, Spain were absolutely atrocious in both of their games, they lacked pace, creativity, confidence in front of goal and on the ball, about every single positive quality you usually associate with Spain, they didn't show it. But the most damming thing was probably the complete lack of hunger from the team. Del Bosque, has done amazing things for Spain and has cemented his place in their history, but in the last two years he's seemed to have grown too comfortable, and has refused to take any risks or adapt his team, to deal with the sides who've adapted to them. He still took Fernando Torres to the tournament, despite him being completely shit for so long now, for example.
Football works in cycles; possession based football isn't dead - and Spanish football its self certainly isn't in decline, just look at La Liga, the Champions League and Europa League this past season - it just seems that in the current climate that quick, direct counter attacking football is the dominate style and is how to beat teams.
I also wouldn't write Spain off on the international front just yet either, they still have countless talents coming through the ranks, just as long as their playing style gets revolutionised, they'll still be a force in World football.
A final word on Chile, they truly have been brilliant and completely deserve their place in the next round. I look forward to watching more of them.
Full Time: Spain 0-2 Chile
19 - Vargas
43 - Aranguiz
MOTM: Arturo Vidal
I finally gave in to my bodily needs and missed out on Cameroon v Croatia, opting for some much needed sleep instead. It looks like I made the wrong decision however, because I missed out on a four goal battering of Cameroon, by the Croatians.
The first goal came only 11 minutes in. Luka Modric, played a beautiful pass forward right into the path Darjio Srna, he took the ball in his stride before hitting a cross towards Mario Mandzukic, who chested the ball to Ivan Peresic, whose first time ball across the face of goal was met by Ivica Olic, who finished the nice move with conviction.
Cameroon were then reduced to ten men because of the utter stupidity of Alex Song. The Barcelona water boy and renowned 'fashionista', raked his elbow down Mandzukic's back, off the ball, for no reason at all. He got the card he deserved and thankfully we won't be seeing him again this tournament.
It wouldn't be until the second half until Croatia would add a second, but when they did, it was in emphatic fashion. Cameroon 'keeper, Charles Itandje, hit an awful clearance which was cut out by Peresic, the winger then could not be caught as he went on a strong run down the left, bursting in the box before slotting past Itandje, with out breaking his stride.
Mandzukic added a third, just over an hour in, when he rose higher than two defenders, to head in powerfully past Itandje. The Bayern München striker added further misery to Cameroon's campaign when he scored another and Croatia's fourth. Mateo Kovacic did well to escape a couple of challenges and find Eduardo, whose weak shot was palmed right into the path of Mandzukic, who would have found it harder to miss.
A brilliant victory for Croatia, which will no doubt give them a lot of confidence going in to the group decider with Mexico, which is destined to be a dramatic match.
Full Time: Cameroon 0-4 Croatia
11 - Olic
48 - Peresic
61, 73 - Mandzukic
MOTM: Mario Mandzukic
World Cup Player Pun of the Day: