And now, the end is near, and so I (they) face the final curtain (perhaps). It’s crunch time for Spain. Having already successfully proved that they’re not quite a match for a Netherlands side who Australia just gave a hell of a game, they face Chile knowing that a defeat will see the reigning champions depart in the first round. This is a move that France pioneered in 2002 and one which La Roja will be very keen not to repeat. Accentuating the positives, though, Spain have already scored more goals than France did on that occasion.
Their opponents, Chile, are enjoying quite a purple patch of form. They played out an exciting 3-1 win over the Socceroos in the first match and will be fired up by the prospect of going toe-to-toe with the world champions. Moreso after last Friday, of course, but they’re only human. They will also perhaps be heartened to see that Vicente Del Bosque has rung the changes in the Spain team. Pique and Xavi both miss out, a fact simply bound to be a win or bust strategy.
Terry Duffelen and, god help you, Ted Carter are your guides to this pivotal game.
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So there we have it. The end of an era. But rather than bury Spain let’s praise Chile. An almost faultless performance.
The officials respect the departing World Champions by eking out ever every last second of injury time. Six minutes.
At this point, Spain are at least only in need of chucking in three floaters during stoppage time, so they’re at least doing better than the last match.
Another Spanish set piece comes to nought. Chile are nearly there and the eulogies for Spain can begin. First up, a 60,000 word recantation from Sid Lowe.
“Good foul!” says Danny Murphy. I love this guy.
Bravo makes a decent save from a long rang shot from Iniesta. It looks like Chile may be over the hump somewhat but these are nervous times. If you want Chile to win.
Claudio Bravo makes a majestic save from Iniesta. That’s about the one he’s had to make this second half.
Meanwhile, Chile are not taking their chances to kill the game. I remain impressed that Wilson and Murphy have yet to mention that 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline.
Danny ‘say it as it is’ Murphy
Ramos leaves his studs on Vargas in ‘did I do that?’ kind of way.
Vidal may have to come off soon as he’s still recovering from his knee injury.
Isla fails to convert the cross and is down injured while play continues.
“It’s just a flesh wound” he said as he hopped off the pitch, leg in hand.
Iker Casillas just hasn’t held the ball first time. Always letting go of it and having to recover.
All the broo ha ha surrounding Diego Costa’s conversion to Spain has backfired because of his injury. Now they turn to Torres.
Diego Costa just isn’t being his usual physical self; too many times being pushed off the ball.
Favourite Coffee Shop: Costa
Aránguiz copped one in the knee and has been stretchered off. But, tough hombre that he is, he’s trying to run it off.
And everyone’s got their shovels out for Spain. It would be a nuisance to have them put them away,
That Costa overhead was the best Spanish cross all game.
Oh my goodness! Busquets misses an absolute sitter.
Costa meanwhile misses the kind of chance he’d have nailed for Atleti.
Looks like Chile are going to defend for their lives. I would say that they are about to be besieged but I’m trying to cut down on my military metaphors.
Koke’s favourite dance?
Koke is coming on for Spain in place of… Xabi Alonso who is redundant given the score.
Half time. We are 45 minutes away from the rapid fall of a dynasty. Fortunately, Dallas will be back later in the year.
Blimus. Spain in need of half time.
Aránguiz with a crazy goal catching the ball on the rebound from the hapless Cassillas.
I take it back. These long balls forward from the Spanish defenders are all sorts of rubbish.
I think too much Tiki Taka brings more players forward than Spain would like. Especially when Chile have such pace going forward.
Tiki taka, when done right, should be plan A, B and C. It’s just that Spain aren’t playing that well. A bit like Bayern after they won the Bundesliga in March.
Works for the Netherlands!
Plan B is ‘take more time’
Is it me or do side netting misses look more like goals in this World Cup?
And suddenly Spain look out of step. I’m sure it’s just perception based on the scoreline but it requires some serious steel for the champs to turn this around.
Or at least play with one who’s 100%. Costa looked so off the pace against the Dutch. Although he appears to be moving around tonight.
Blimey, I’ve just tuned in… seems like I may have missed a good 20 minutes. Why does that always happen!?
We have a goal from Vargas. 1-0 Chile. Aránguiz calmly passes to Vargas who did the goal.
I’m also bathing in Danny Murphy’s analysis.
Diego Costa delays his shot then stands unmarked at the far post while he team mates studiously ignore him.
So far there are lots of nice moves from lots of really good players but beyond the nearly own goal there’s not been much in the way of goal mouth live blog fodder.
I paste my line ups into a text document. At least I did until now.
You’d think the Spanish would cheer up a bit. They did, after all, win the ‘who get’s to wear red’ toss..
Ahoy ‘hoy. Just finished watching the Holland v Australia game on the old +1. What a game that was.