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In a battle for the top of the group, the Netherlands took first place with two second-half goals against Chile, and in an inconsequential match, Spain finally showed up, ending their embarrassing run at the World Cup with a 3-0 win over the Socceroos. Brazil and Mexico would win both their games, tying at 7 points apiece, with Brazil taking the group on total goals scored over the three games.
Group B: Netherlands v Chile, 2-0
In a decisive match of who would end up on top of the Group, the Netherlands and Chile have been unbeaten in the tournament so far and we expected a well fought battle for first. Surprisingly, the first half saw either side goalless, with both defenses doing exactly what they needed to do. Netherlands would break through at the 77th minute with a goal from Leroy Fer, who had literally come on as a substitute for striker Wesley Sneijder a minute before. A cross from Arjen Robben in the six-yard box to Memphis Depay would give them two at the last minute of stoppage time.
Group B: Australia v Spain, 0-3
With both teams winless, and out of the tournament, all eyes were on for the former champions Spain to at least get a win under their belt as they exit the games. Finally utilizing players we noted had not seen any time on the field yet, for whatever reason, made the difference in a 3-goal win for the Spaniards.
David Villa, most recently of FC Barcelona, and now making his way to the MLS next season, saw the back of the net first, with a clever back-heel, past goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, in the 36th minute. Finding their rhythm during the second half, Fernando Torres would get one past the Aussies, and two substitutes, Cesc Fabregas sending the ball through to Juan Mata for a goal, would end it 3-0.
Group A: Croatia v Mexico, 1-3
A do-or-die situation for both teams, with Mexico needing a win or tie to move forward, and Croatia needing a win to move on. The first half was a battle for a goal but neither side could get to the back of the net. The second half was much of the same, with more chances being displayed. It wasn’t until the 72nd minute off a corner that Mexico captain Rafael Márquez literally rose above the rest and headed it in. Mexico would put the nail in the coffin of Croatia’s hopes only 3 minutes later with another goal. With Manchester United’s Chicharito’s goal at the 82nd, Mexico would go through to the next stage in second place of the group, facing the Netherlands on Sunday, June 29.
Group A: Cameroon v Brazil, 1-4
The home team already solidified their entry into the next round but they were not going to sit back without getting to the top of the group. Dubbed the next Pele, Neymar would find the back of the net at the 17th minute but the West Africans answered back at the 26th, giving the home crowd a worry. Neymar wasn’t going to let that stop him with another at the 34th making it 2-1 at the half.
As The Telegraph noted, it only took 4 minutes in the second half for Brazil to find the back of the net with Fred heading the ball in from a cross. Brazil would finish 4-1, advancing to the next round facing Chile on Saturday, June 28.
June 24: In Group D, titans Italy v Uruguay battle to get to the next round, while Chile try to go 3 and 0 against England to top the group. In group C, Columbia try to keep their record perfect against Japan and Ivory Coast try to stay in competition with a win over Greece.