Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (4E Sports) – Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz scored in the first half to help Chile end Spain’s World Cup reign with a 2-0 win Wednesday at Maracana.
With the win, Chile secured a spot in the round of 16 together with the Netherlands with six points apiece. They will battle Monday at Arena Corinthians to determine first place in Group B.
Spain, for its part, was eliminated from the competition after back-to-back losses in the qualifying round. La Roja was aiming to become the first nation to win consecutive World Cup titles since 1962 but failed to make it to the knockout round.
The South Americans looked far brighter in the early exchanges and went close twice inside the first three minutes, with Vargas and Gonzalo Jara getting scoring chances but just off target.
Just when the Spaniards were getting their groove, Chile put them in a 1-0 hole in the 20th minute.
After latching on to Alexis Sanchez’s throughball, Aranguiz squared to Vargas, who cleverly side-stepped past Iker Casillas before prodding the ball into an empty net.
The world champions almost restored parity eight minutes later but Diego Costa failed to find the net after pouncing on David Silva’s headed pass.
Chile capitalized on Spain’s failure to forge a two-goal lead after 43 minutes with Aranguiz at the center of things
Casillas bizarrely opted to punch a Sanchez free-kick back out into a crowded area where it was controlled by Aranguiz before poking home the ball past the stranded goalkeeper for a 2-0 advantage.
Spain started the second period with renewed determination and it almost pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute but Diego Costa’s overhead kick went wide.
Chile almost made it a three-goal game but Eugenio Mena’s low cross at the back post missed the target.