Netherlands and Chile had both qualified for the final sixteen before this match started, but they were playing for the top spot in group B. The loser would most probably play Brazil in the Round of 16 and both would have liked to avoid collision with the five-time World Champions and that too, on their turf. Netherlands who were playing without their captain Robin van Persie had earlier snubbed the defending champions Spain, in a mammoth 5-1 win and scrapped to a victory against the Socceroos winning it 3-2. Chile too had surprised everyone by defeating Spain in their second round and dominating Australia with a 3-1 victory.
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The Chilean coach Sampaoli said in press conference, “They have a high quality and an extremely good style that has inspired much respect. Of course, tomorrow we want to win. We don’t want to destroy Holland’s dream but build our own dream.” Both teams were playing to win and that is the spirit that we as spectators crave for.
The first half was forgettable though and below expectations of the fans. In the first half both teams had their supporters’ right behind their goal, making a lot of noise and creating an exhilarating atmosphere. The first twenty minutes belonged to Chile as they were constantly poking at the Dutch defence but were unable to get a clear shot on goal. The highlight for Netherlands in the first half was Arjen Robben’s fantastic run through the defence but he was unable to pass the ball to his team mate hence, futile. It was not the kind of performance the men in orange were looking for. First Dutch team for 221 games without a Van in it, is that such a big thing? Would it be more significant if there were no De’s or Der’s? The first half also saw plenty of penalty shouts by the South Americans but all being completely ignored by the referee and the game went on.
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In the second half, the difference was made by two substitutions with Depay and Fer coming on for Lens and Sneider respectively. Fer, with his first touch of the match scored with a thumping header and put his side one goal ahead in the 77th minute. While Chile was trying to score an equaliser its defence was caught on the back foot and with the help of Arjen Robben’s lightening speed, they were able to score another goal. Memphis Depay who had scored the winner against Australia, sealed the deal for Netherlands as they went 2-0 up.
Now, in the round of 16, Brazil will play Chile and Netherlands will go against Mexico. Netherlands are looking good with 3 win out of 3 and Chile with their strongest squad ever will go all guns blazing against the hosts to make it to the quarters.
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