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The Aussies gave Holland a run for their money in a surprisingly close game, while the whistle heard around the world ended the current world champions Spain's run at a repeat. Croatia and Cameroon battle to keeps their hopes of a possible comeback to the Round of 16 alive.
Group B: Australia v Netherlands, 2-3
They say you are at your weakest after scoring a goal, and it couldn’t have been more true during the first four goals of the match. Netherland’s star Arjen Robben nailed one in the back of the net at the 20th minute but less than a minute later Australia and New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill answered back with a goal off a volley that might be considered the goal of the tournament. A penalty kick gave the Socceroos a brief lead, but Manchester United star Robin Van Persie quickly answered three minutes later to give Holland the equalizer. Valiantly fought, the Dutch would score the game winner in the 68th, knocking Australia out of the tournament.
To add salt to the wound, as the Sydney Morning Herald notes, Cahill’s challenge against Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi cost him a yellow card, taking him out of Australia’s final game of the tournament. Due to age as well, this is likely Cahill’s last World Cup.
Group B: Spain v Chile, 0-2
Spain’s reign as the “greatest” has come to an end. For three major tournaments, 2008 and 2012 Euro and the 2010 World Cup, the Spaniards seemed unbeatable, until we saw the Netherlands exact revenge in a title rematch in the first round of play. During their second, and do-or-die, match for any hope to make it to the round of 16, Chile ended their hopes before the second half could take place, and secured their own destiny to the next stage of competition.
At the 20th minute Chilean Eduardo Vargas receives a pass in the middle of the penalty box, while misguiding Spain’s Casillas, falling backward Vargas manages to poke the ball forward to goal. Just before the half Casillas punches a free-kick away from goal, but right to Aranguiz who quickly gives an outside bend past for goal. Although much could be said about Casillas’ performance, poor playmaking, bad passes, and honestly, some of Spain’s best playmakers in Cesc Fabregas and David Villa were left sulking on the bench.
Group A: Cameroon v Croatia, 0-4
Only 11 minutes in, Croatia would secure their win against Cameroon, sending the African team home after a vicious 4-0 defeat. Add on to that a point of, what The Guardian rightfully thought was an insane and foolish move, Cameroon’s Alexandre Song blatantly elbowed Mandzukic in the back and is immediately ejected from the game, leaving the team at 10 players.
After the half, the Croatians were off to their goal-scoring spree with Ivan Perisic scoring at the 48th minute, and Mandzukic getting even for the elbow with a brace, scoring at 61st and 73rd minute.
June 19, a fight for first in Group C between Columbia v Côte d'Ivoire, and a fight to get back in for Japan v Greece, and the bottom of Group D, Uruguay v England, try to keep their hopes alive.