MOTM Ivan Perisic
The results elsewhere in the group had meant that either team’s loss would have them eliminated. So it was bad news for the Africans that Samuel Eto’o was unable to start because of a bad knee. More bad news was to follow as an Ivan Perisic cross and a Mario Mandzukic dummy led to the ball reaching Ivica Olic. Later Alex Song got himself sent off for a foul on Mandzukic. Perisic scored early in the second and Mandzukic added a header and another possibly offside tap in. Several efforts by both teams came close to adding more goals. A moment of infighting in between Cameroon players at the end of the 90 minutes was the clearest indication that Cameroon were leaving the World Cup early.
Spain 0-2 Chile
Eduardo Vargas 20 Charles Aranguiz 43
MOTM Alexis Sanchez
Xavi was on the bench. A loss and Spain’s World Cup would end very prematurely, a tie would also carry its own dangers. Obviously Spain would want to reverse the 1-5 humiliation at the hands of the Dutch no matter what. Chile were first to threaten with a header and a deflection not very wide off the mark. Spain’s first chance came in the 15th minute with Claudio Bravo stopping an Alonso shot from close range. The first goal came in the 20th minute with yet another ball not very securely handled by at least two Spaniards, including Iker Casillas. Charles Aranguiz doubled the Chile lead late in the half when Casillas punched out a free kick which no one – including Casillas himself – reacted properly to. Casillas seemed to be moving to his right and it could be argued that he opened a spot for the goalscorer to shoot at. Koke replaced the disappointing Alonso at half time. Early in the second half Diego Costa was unable to score on a good ball, minutes later Busquets missed an open chance after a mini scramble following an unnecessary free kick conceded by Arturo Vidal. Mauricio Isla wasted a good chance in the 68th minutes, a bit earlier Fernando Torres had come on for Costa but in the ensuing minutes Chile threatened as often if not more than Spain. Late efforts and attempts were punched for corners and an era ended with Spain officially eliminated.
Australia 2-3 Holland
Tim Cahill 21 Mile Jedinak 54P – Arjen Robben 20 Robin van Persie 58 Memphis Depay 68
MOTM Arjen Robben
A wild match with many more goals. A Robben goal was soon answered when Cahill shot just under the bar eluding both the Holland defender and the goalie. Australia seemed to be capable of causing an upset and early in the second half took the lead when a penalty was given for a Daryl Janmaat handball. By current standards the hand ball was somewhat harsh as the ball was shot from close range. Robin van Persie continued the World Cup trend of more and more goals and poor marking when he tied it soon after. PSV’s Memphis Depay also continued by adding another. He added to the tally of subs scoring goals too. Mathew Leckie had a second solid game for the socceroos, especially in the first half. Second yellows in two matches ruled out both Tim Cahill and Robin van Persie from their respective third group matches.
Russia 1-1 South Korea
Aleksandr Kerzhakov 74 – KH Lee 68
MOTM Aleksandr Kerzhakov
An overall disappointing game in which it seemed Korea were relying on pace and fitness and Russia on a wait for chances tactic. Alan Dzagoev started on the bench. Russia’s aging center backs were vulnerable to the speed but that speed didn’t often trouble them. The two keepers were equally tested but neither too often. Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev failed one of those tests when one of many Korea long range attempts – by KH Lee this time – hit his hands and bounced in. Shortly after, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, for reasons known to few also not a starter and only just on managed to beat SR Jung in one of many scrambles just inside the penalty box.
Brazil 0-0 Mexico
MOTM Guillermo Ochoa
Hulk injured in training missed Brazil’s starting line up. The start was choppy and good shots off and on target were tried by both teams. The first real danger however was off the head of Neymar – from a Dani Alves cross – with Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa palming the ball away and showing great reflexes. In the 43rd minute Ochoa came out strong to deny a Brazil goal when it seemed three or four Brazilian players had evaded the offside trap. Bernard came on for Ramires at the half and his pace provided a cross which was headed into a corner by Francisco Rodriguez before Neymar could head in. The second half had a pattern of Mexico attempting high shots and Brazil failing to trouble Mexico enough and when Brazil did get close Ochoa was there to save. In a frantic finish both teams had a chance to score and Ochoa saved Mexico one more time.
Belgium 2-1 Algeria
Marouane Fellaini 70 Dries Mertens 80 – Sofiane Feghouli 25P
MOTM Axel Witsel honourable mention to Marouane Fellaini and Sofiane Feghouli
A bit of cautious start settled into lots of possession for the Belgians but the flow was broken when Belgian left back Jan Vertonghen chopped down the speedy Algerian attacker, he was yellowed and Sofiane Feghouli scored the awarded penalty. Meanwhile Axel Witsel keeping some order and shooting from the outside of the box was the only real threat on Algerian goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi. Dries Mertens replaced Nacer Chadli at the half. Possession remained mostly with the Belgians but Algeria held on and created some too. Romelu Lukaku was replaced by youngster Divock Origi in the 58th minute having made little contribution in the game. Marouane Fellaini came on for Moussa Dembele in the 65th as Marc Wilmots used all his subs in search for goals. The first arrived from a very precise Kevin de Bruyne cross that Fellaini headed in off the crossbar. In the 80th minute a fast counter was shot sharply and high by Mertens to give Belgium their first lead and win. Two subs scored for the second time in this World Cup.