Created on 23-06-2014 at 19:49 PM
In-form Arjen Robben led the charge as the Netherlands sealed top spot in Group B at the World Cup in Brazil with a 2–0 victory over Chile, who together with their opponents were already sure of a place in the last 16 before kick-off. The Dutch made it three wins out of three at the preliminary stage with goals from substitutes Leroy Fer (77) and Memphis Depay (90+2).
“I'm unbelievably proud of this team. You can't fail to be impressed at the way the lads battled away!“ enthused Robben afterwards. The Europeans now meet Mexico on Sunday in the first knockout round.
Bondscoach Louis van Gaal was without captain Robin van Persie due to suspension, with Robben wearing the armband instead. The Bayern wide man had shaken off a minor injury and was a model of authority and composure as the Dutch wrestled for control of the game in the first half. Arjen came closest after 40 minutes when he narrowly missed following a 50-yard sprint in the afternoon heat.
Robben was denied again by Chile keeper Claudio Bravo following another impressive solo run on 66 minutes. It was left to Fer (77) and Depay (90+2), who finished off an excellent Robben assist, to wrap up a deserved victory for the men in orange.
Consolation for Spain
Spain, whose defeats to both the Dutch and Chile meant they were already out of the tournament before the final group match, signed off as world champions on a winning note with a 3–0 victory over Australia in the parallel Group B fixture. David Villa opened the scoring with a 36th minute backheel, before Fernando Torres (69) and Juan Mata (82) rounded off the victory for the team coached by under-fire Vicente del Bosque, who made seven changes to his starting line-up. As a result FCB man Javi Martínez was an unused sub. The Spanish had been due to return to their team base after the game but in a last-minute change of plan took a flight back to Madrid immediately after the final whistle.