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The greatest soccer dynasty in a generation ended today, as Spain was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup due to a 2-0 loss to Chile.
After Spain’s shocking 5-1 loss to the Netherlands in their opening game of the tournament, they found themselves in desperate need of a win versus Chile, who had won their opening game against Australia 3-1.
Spain, which looked like a shell of themselves against the Netherlands, would have history on their side. Chile had never beaten Spain in their 10 previous meetings, only managing two draws to go along with eight losses, including a 2-1 defeat in the 2010 World Cup in their final game of group play. In 2010, both Spain and Chile made it out of their group. This year however, one of the two spots will be taken by the Netherlands, who beat Australia 3-2 earlier in the day.
Any hope that Spain would prove that their loss to the Netherlands was an anomaly was put to rest early. Spain looked sloppy in the first half, not being able to keep possession and wasting what opportunities they managed to create.
Chile, which outworked the defending champions in the first half were rewarded in the 20th minute when Eduardo Vargas scored on a pass from Charles Arýnguiz.
Iker Casillas’s struggles in the tournament continued. The legendary keeper was solely responsible for Chile’s second goal. Casillas punched a free kick right back to Chile midfielder, Charles Aránguiz, who made Casillas pay with a shot that beat him near post.
A discouraged Spanish team went in to halftime down 2-0 and would need to drastically turn things around in the second 45 minutes to keep their hopes of winning a second straight World Cup alive.
To Spain’s credit, they did come out swinging in the opening minutes of the second half. Diego Costa had a chance to cut the Chile lead in half in the 49th minute, but had his attempt from only a few yards away blocked. Costa, who was born in Brazil, has not lived up to expectations with Spain, notes Goal.com.
Sergio Busquets then wasted a golden opportunity in the 53rd minute when he mishit an acrobatic pass from Diego Costa.
From that point on, Spain was able to create a few decent chances to score, but at no point did it ever feel like they were going to fully comeback. In the 64th minute desperation kicked in when Spain subbed in Fernando Torres, who is a forward that only scored five goals in 29 Premier League games with Chelsea this season.
There would be no late game heroics for the reigning champions, and indeed it seems like this game marked the end of Spain’s Golden Age, which included two European Championships and one World Cup. Spain is now eliminated from the tournament, though they have one game remaining against Australia. The National noted that this was an important moment for Spain's legacy, but they missed a chance to keep the dynasty going.
Chile faces the Netherlands on June 23 in what will be a battle for first place in the group, as both teams are now through to the next round. The reward for the winner will likely be avoiding Brazil in the next round,. Brazil is still in position to win Group A, despite a scoreless draw with Mexico yesterday.