Holland take top spot
A review of the final two games in World Cup Group B as Holland finish top and Spain end with a win.
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Holland claimed top spot in World Cup Group B as substitutes Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay netted in a 2-0 win over Chile at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians.
Chile saw more of the ball in the opening 45 minutes and Felipe Gutierrez twice came close to opening the scoring, blazing a low Alexis Sanchez corner over the bar before heading Marcelo Diaz’s free-kick wide from close range.
Stefan de Vrij squandered Holland’s best first-half chance as he put Arjen Robben’s inviting free-kick wide with a flying header, while Robben himself also threatened as he fired wide following a surging run forward.
Proceedings started slowly after the break but Chile almost worked an opening when Sanchez tricked his way beyond Jeremain Lens and forced Jasper Cillessen to palm his effort away, while Claudio Bravo had to push clear a Robben striker at the opposite end.
The introduction of Depay appeared to open things up for Holland and he forced Bravo into tipping his long-range effort over the bar for the corner which led to the opening goal.
The deadlock was eventually broken by Fer, who had replaced Wesley Sneijder moments earlier, when he rose to meet Daryl Janmaat’s cross from deep with a towering header.
Holland then wrapped things up in added time when Robben broke from a Chile corner and he found Depay unmarked at the back post to tap in from close range.
Meanwhile, Spain at least ensured the end of their golden era finished with a 3-0 victory as they saw off Australia in something of a lacklustre Group B dead-rubber match in Curitiba.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with Australia lacking a considerable attacking presence in the absence of their talismanic forward Tim Cahill, who was suspended for the game.
David Villa, one of a number of stars from an historic generation who will now call time on their international careers, scored his 59th and final international goal with one last touch of class in the 36th minute before Fernando Torres and substitute Juan Mata made it comfortable after the break.