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Chile won their opening match of the World Cup 3-1, despite a gritty performance from Australia.
Image courtesy of INFphoto.com
The red hot favorites started out the game the way everyone expected, by dominating possession and scoring the opening goal early on. Barcelona forward Alexis Sánchez scored in the 12th minute, after Australia was unable to clear the ball from in front of their goal. Australia apparently did not have enough time to sort out their defense, as Chile doubled their lead just two minutes later. Jorge Valdivia struck a bullet of a shot from the top of the box, impossible for any goalkeeper to save.
Australia was able to get back into the game in the 35th minute when their all-time leading goal scorer Tim Cahill headed home across from Ivan Franjic.
Australia, who is the lowest ranked team in FIFA’s World Rankings,, are the small fries of Group B, not expected to stand a chance against either Spain or The Netherlands.
Cahill and Australia did not seem to be concerned with where they were expected to finish in the group, last, according to The Washington Post. Cahill was a thorn in the side of Chile throughout the game. The striker, who plays his club football for the New York Red Bulls, would have had his second goal in the 53rd minute had he been able to stay onsides.
Australia would have had the equalizer again in the 56th minute if not for the heroics of Chile goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, who made a diving save to stop Mark Bresciano’s volley.
Chile nearly went two goals up in the 61st minute, but Alex Wilkenson came to the rescue. Eduardo Vargas was able to sneak a weak shot past Australian goalkeeper, Matty Ryan, but Wilkenson used a slide kick to clear the ball just as it was about to cross the goal line.
Jean Beauséjour secured the three points for the South American side in the second minute of stoppage time with a well struck shot off his left foot. Maty Ryan wasn’t able to secure a shot he saved from, and Beasejour was able to take full advantage of the rebound.
Though Chile won by two goals, they did not look overly impressive for much of the game. They may have been guilty of looking past Australia, as their next match is against defending champions Spain, who lost earlier in the day to The Netherlands 5-1.
Things do not get any easier for Australia. They face The Netherlands in their next game, and then Spain in their last game of the group stages.