Netherlands blanks Chile, grabs top spot in Group B

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Sau Paolo, Brazil (4E Sports) – Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay scored late in the second half as Netherlands grabbed top spot in World Cup’s Group B with a 2-0 triumph over Chile Monday at Arena Corinthians.

The pair found the net inside the last 15 minutes to settle a largely forgettable encounter in Sao Paulo and ensure that Louis van Gaal’s men will likely avoid host nation Brazil in the last 16.

The meeting between the two exciting teams was highly anticipated but failed to live up to its billing before late heroics from Fer and Memphis, who lifted Netherlands to its third successive triumph.

Despite the loss, Chile also advanced to the knockout phase, where it will face either Croatia or Mexico.

Chile dominated early action and came close to breaking the deadlock when Felipe Gutierrez curled over after being picked out by Alex Sanchez’s clever corner.

Van Gaal’s men responded well, enjoying a good spell towards the end of the opening period and almost broke the ice but Stefan de Vrij headed Arjen Robben’s vicious, curling free kick wide.

In the second half, Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had some outstanding saves, thwarting strikes from Robben and Depay’s 20-yard effort.

However, Bravo collapsed moments later as Fer met Daryl Janmaat’s center with a bullet header that flew into the corner.

Chile tried to respond but Robben tricked his way down the left and squared superbly for Depay, who tapped home another goal in injury-time.

Meanwhile, Spain finished its disappointing World Cup campaign with a 3-0 victory over Australia in Group B in Curitiba, restoring some pride despite the reigning champions’ early exit.

Vicente del Bosque’s men headed into their final group fixture knowing they could no longer reach the knockout stages following defeats to Netherlands and Chile.

However, goals from David Villa, on his last international appearance, Fernando Torres and substitute Juan Mata ensured Spain at least signed off from the competition with victory, and avoided finishing bottom of Group B.

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