Saturday - Jul 22, 2017

World Cup Round Up- End of an era as holders Spain go out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup


World Cup Round Up- End of an era as holders Spain go out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

At the Estadio Beira-Rio in Port Alegre, the Netherlands side made unexpectedly heavy going out of defeating a plucky Australian side to guarantee themselves a place in the last 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

After scoring five goals against holders Spain in their first match it would expect to be plain sailing for the Dutch against Australia regarded as being the weakest team in the group. It certainly appeared to be going that way when the irrepressible Arjen Robben broke through the Australian defense, to send an angled drive past Mat Ryan in the Aussie goal.

However the “Socceroos” drew level within just one minute when Tim Cahill slammed home an unstoppable volley, to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

In the second half the Australians were giving as good as they got, and even to the lead when Mile Jedinak scored from the penalty spot after an Oliver Bozanic cross was handled by Daryl Janmaat.

For a few moments the Dutch look harassed with their discomfort growing even more applicable when team captain Robin Van Persie was shown his second yellow card of the tournament ruling him out of the final game in the group against Chile.

As if to make the result of that game irrelevant, Persie popped up to lash home an equalizer for the Dutch on the 58th minute. After that it was one-way traffic as Aussies began to tire, and Holland began to sense victory which would more or less guarantee them a place in the knockout stages.

The entry ticket came in the 68th minute when substitute Memphis Depay scored with a well-placed 25 yard shot to seal victory and deserved further progress in the tournament

The same could not be said for holders Spain, who are on the way home after being soundly defeated by Chile by a comfortable two-goal margin, to give them an un-catchable six points in the group.

While it was expected by most of soccer pundits that Spain would struggle in this year’s tournament to maintain the remarkable dominance of global football that they have achieved over the last decade. However it proved to be much quicker and much easier than most people thought could happen, with them failing to even make it past the qualifying stages. Chile were never under pressure at any stage of the game, with first-half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz to give them their first competitive victory over Spain in their long history.

With the tournament only beginning to gather momentum, it’s a shocking fact that the tightly knit Spanish team will now probably begin to be dismantled, with its iconic coach Vicente Del Bosque as well as several other backbones of the squad, in particular goalkeeper Iker Casillas and midfields Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso having probably reached the end of their international careers, marking what very much appears to be the end of an unprecedented era of dominance and the winding down of the careers of a golden generation of highly talented players who melded together so successfully as a team, well also reaching the top at club level, a highly unusual phenomena on the international football scene.

Spain will now be given the chance to test fresher talents when they came up against against Australia on 23 June, while Chile and Netherlands will meet to see who runs out winners in Group B.

The last match of the day between Croatia and Cameron was a bad tempered and one-sided affair, which ended in a 4-0 for the Africans who are now out of the tournament, having once again failed to make it beyond the group stage for their fifth successive World Cup.

The writing was on the wall for the Cameroonians as early as the 11th minute when the energetic Ivica Olic snaps, chance in the penalty area. The pressure increased on the Cameroonians when Alex Song was shown the red card after a contretemps with Bayern Munich’s bustling striker Mario Mandzukic, who returned from suspension for this match, and made a dramatic impact throughout.

Without a song in their hearts or Alex Song in the center of the defense Cameroon were really struggling and even more so, when Ivan Perisic doubled the Coatian’s lead when he pounced on a poor clearance from goalkeeper Charles Itanje. After that goal, Mandzukic made his presence felt even more by scoring twice, as the Cameroonian began to wither and their tempers frayed.

Based on the assumption that Brazil will make short work of Cameroon in the last game, then the tie between Croatia and Mexico in their final Group A game offers considerable possibilities, with a draw enough to send the Croatians through to the last 16, on goal difference, for the first time in four attempts.

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