Some might say that it’s the end of an era, for but now, it’s simply Chile beating Spain 2-0 with goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz, which means the defending world champions won’t be in the round of 16 while Chile secure their qualification from one of the top two spots in Group B.
The early moments of the match which meant so much to Spain coming off their humiliation against the Netherlands betrayed their emotions and mindset. Diego Costa remained in the lineup and a hesitant start meant Chile felt very comfortable with their aggressive football to disrupt the passing game and create chances through counter attacks. A terrible mistake from Xabi Alosno, the worst player on the pitch, released Chile to a counter attack and some pitiful defending from Sergio Ramos allowed Vargas to score and give Chile the opening goal.
Spain settled down and started moving the ball, but Diego Costa continued his poor form of the last month or so, missing comfortable opportunities, reacting slowly to excellent balls he got from Andres Iniesta and David Silva, maybe the best players on the Spanish team. A free kick Chile got in the 42nd minute was parried by Iker Casillas, but Aranguiz, maybe the best player on the pitch along with Gary Medel and Claudio Bravo, scored the goal that sent Spain into the dressing room knowing this their title defense is almost over.
Del Bosque made changes, putting in Koke instead of Xabi Alonso, which changed the match for about 15 to 20 minutes. Chile defended deep, Spain took over and start played with a bit more speed in their passing and movement. However, once again, being sharp and relaxed in front of the goal is something you expect from your striker. The gamble on Diego Costa backfired. The ex-Brazilian missed again from close range, and Sergio Busquets added a miss to top those of Costa.
The momentum was killed off, and the substitutions Del Bosque made: Torres on for Costa and Santi Cazorla on for the terrible Pedro. Chile took things easier and went on counter attacks from time to time with very few players, but the trio of Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas (who was later replaced) continued to wreck havoc whenever they got close to the penalty box. Spain had their chances from long range as well, but Claudio Bravo made sure no heroic comeback would be made.
Chile have an amazing support from their fans, probably the best in Brazil so far among those who had to travel a fair distance. Every match is like playing in Santiago. For them, it’s been an incredible and enjoyable ride to start the tournament, that suddenly looks like one that might be their best since they hosted it in 1962. The talk of the end and a new generation for Spain will begin tomorrow, when they digest and realize what just happened and how it all ended for them after six record breaking years.