Chile end Spain's reign at World Cup

Spain will be joined by Australia who will catch an early flight home while Netherlands progress.

Afp June 18, 2014
Chile's forward Eduardo Vargas (C) strikes to score Chile's first goal as Spain's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas (L) tries to save the ball during a Group B football match between Spain and Chile in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 18, 2014. PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO: Holders Spain were sensationally sent crashing out of the World Cup with a 2-0 defeat to Chile on Wednesday, the earliest exit by the reigning champions for 64 years.

On a day when King Juan Carlos tearfully sealed his abdication after a four-decade reign, Spain's players were booted off their throne in 90 minutes after six years as the dominant force of world football.

Chile's Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz administered the killer blows as a trophy-laden Spanish era was brought to a shattering end at the Maracana Stadium.

Chile's victory sees them qualify for the last 16 from Group B along with the Netherlands, who thrashed Spain 5-1 in their opening match last week.

Australia, beaten 3-2 by the Netherlands earlier Wednesday, join Spain as the other team to be knocked out.

Spain's early departure will send shockwaves through football after an unprecedented period of success that saw them win the 2010 World Cup as well as back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

They arrived at the World Cup as one of the favourites after a qualifying campaign which gave no clue of the looming disaster in Brazil.

But instead they join Italy (1950 and 2010), Brazil (1966) and France (2002) as the only holders to be knocked out in the first phase.

Not since Italy in 1950 have the holders been knocked out before even playing their last group match.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque had signalled the turmoil in the Spain camp by dropping veteran midfielder Xavi and defender Gerard Pique beforehand.

But Del Bosque's decision to retain out-of-form goalkeeper Iker Casillas backfired, with the Spanish skipper at fault for Chile's second goal, lashed home by Aranguiz just before half-time.

Aranguiz had earlier helped to set up Chile's first, cutting back for Vargas to finish after a superb counter-attack.

The final whistle sparked delirium inside the Maracana, where Chilean fans had heavily outnumbered their Spanish counterparts and roared on their team relentlessly throughout.

The fervour boiled over before the match, with dozens of ticket-less Chilean fans attempting to force their way into the famous stadium by storming the press room.

Chile will now face Holland next Monday in what could well be a battle to avoid Brazil, who are expected to face the runners-up from Group B in the last 16.

The Dutch had earlier needed goals from Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie to fight back against Australia before Memphis Depay's long-range effort settled a thrilling game at Porto Alegre's Beira-Rio Stadium.

Van Persie will miss the next game against Chile though after picking up a second yellow card.

And Louis van Gaal's side were given an almighty fright by their fired up Australian opponents, who had taken a 2-1 lead through a spectacular Tim Cahill volley and a Mile Jedinak penalty.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou paid tribute to his team after the loss.

"I just wanted the players to get the reward for the way they went about things today," said Postecoglou.

"I have put a lot of pressure on the players and the staff that we are going to be a certain type of team and take it to world class opposition, but it is one thing saying it and another thing doing it.

"They did that today but didn't get their reward. It's heartbreaking and massively disappointing."

Elsewhere Wednesday, in Group A, Cameroon and Croatia, beaten by Mexico and Brazil respectively in their openers, meet in Manaus where defeat for either side will mean the end of their last-16 hopes.

Croatia are still bitter from their opening loss to Brazil in which they had a goal controversially disallowed while the hosts won a dubious penalty.


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