Sport Football Chile sends Spain packing
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Chile sends Spain packing

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Defending champion Spain is out of the World Cup after a 2-0 loss to Chile in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning.

The result also confirms Australia’s exit after its 3-2 loss to the Netherlands.

First-half goals to Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz were enough to see off a sorry Spanish side still reeling from Saturday’s 5-1 hammering at the hands of the Dutch.

The Netherlands and Chile will now fight it out for top spot in Group B on Tuesday, with the second-placed team likely to face Brazil in the round of 16.

A draw would see Netherlands finish top on goal difference.

Australia will take on Spain in Curitiba in the early hours of Tuesday morning (AET) in a dead rubber.

The Socceroos will be without star Tim Cahill, who received his second yellow card of the tournament in the defeat to the Netherlands.

The advancing age of key Spain players, grievous mistakes from captain Iker Casillas and others, plus coach Vicente del Bosque’s failure to read the writing on the wall fatally threw the Spanish machine out of gear.

Spain’s demise was also a reminder of how difficult it is to retain the World Cup and for coaches to keep teams fresh and motivated in the four-year gap between tournaments.

Only Italy – winners in 1934 and 1938 – and Brazil -champions in 1958 and 1962 – have won back-to-back World Cups.

Del Bosque came to Brazil with a goalkeeper, Casillas, who is no longer the undisputed No.1 at Real Madrid, with a midfield playmaker, Xavi Hernandez, who at 34 is past his peak, and with a new striker, Diego Costa, who has been a major disappointment, not finding the net once.

“We have no excuses,” said del Bosque. “We were too slow, timid from the start today. It’s a sad day for all of the players. Time to think about the future.”

Elsewhere, Croatia eased to a 4-0 win over 10-man Cameroon to register its first points in Manaus.

A late brace to Mario Mandzukic doubled Croatia’s winning margin after Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic had put the Europeans 2-0 up.

There was more misery for Cameroon who had Alex Song sent off for a cynical foul in the first half.

The result sees Croatia sit third in Group A with three points, behind Brazil and Mexico who are both on four points.