WORLD CUP: Chile defeat the plucky Socceroos

WorldCup2014

GROUP B

CHILE 3-1 AUSTRALIA

FRIDAY 13TH JUNE – CUIABÁ

Chile defeated a gallant Australia today 3-1 in an open and entertaining Group B encounter in Cuiaba.   The Chileans showed greater composure in front of goal to edge this one but not before being given a fright from the Aussies.

With Group B being blown apart by the Netherlands earlier annihilation of Spain, it was all to play for in this one.  Chile seemingly was intent on trying to match the Dutch’s goal difference and came out of the blocks firing in this one, after a stirring rendition of their national anthem.  Their early pressure and possession paid dividends in the 12th minute when Alexis Sanchez struck one home after Australia failed to clear their lines.  Sanchez then turned provider just 2 minutes later when he fed a wide open Jorge Valdivia, who had all the time in the world to place his shot past Mat Ryan, to double Chile’s lead.  Chile had all the ascendancy at this time and it seemed like a matter of when and not if their third would come.  Australia’s young side seemed overawed by the occasion and the noisy Chilean supports in the stand with the back 4 in particular very nervy.

Australia started to settle mid-way through the 1st half as Chile seemingly were content to sit on their lead.  A counter attack by Australia in the 35th minute lead to the ball going wide for Ivan Franjic to float the ball in for Tim Cahill to head it home and give his team some belief. Cahill, who is Australia’s record top scorer, has now scored at 3 consecutive World Cups. Minutes later Cahill had another great opportunity but was denied by Claudio Bravo.  Halftime came as a relief for both sides who were pressing and running hard.

The second half saw Australia’s renewed self-belief come to the fore with the best chances falling to the men in gold with Matthew Leckie in particular proving a handful for the Chilean defence.  Leckie’s probing runs on the right flank set up decent chances for Mark Bresciano in particular, but keeper Bravo held firm.  Australia then thought they’d equalised mid-way through the 2nd half when Tim Cahill again headed up home but it was correctly ruled out for being marginally offside.  These fine margins are often what decides football matches and this game was no exception, as Chile restored their 2 goal cushion very late on with  Jean Beausejour taking advantage of a tiring Aussie defence to give his team the 3 points.

In the end Chile did enough to take the win but the manner in which the 62nd ranked Aussies came at them in the second half must cause concern for Jorge Sampaoli.  He’ll need to improve his team’s ball distribution before the next game on Wednesday against a wounded Spain in the Maracana.  For Australian manager Ange Postecoglou, he’ll need to rally his troops for another spirited performance against a rampant Dutch side in Porto Alegre.

TEAMS

CHILE: Bravo (GK), Mena, Isla, Medel, Jara, Vidal (Gutierrez 60’), Valvidia (Beausejour 68’), Aranguiz, Diaz, A Sanchez, Vargas (Pinilla 88’)

GOALS: Sanchez, Valvidia, Beausejour

BOOKINGS: Aranguiz

AUSTRALIA: Ryan (GK), Franjic (McGowan 49’), Spiranovic, Wilkinson, Davidson, Milligan, Bresciano (Troisi 78’), Oar (Halloran 68’); Jedinak, Cahill

GOALS: Cahill

BOOKINGS: Cahill, Jedinak, Milligan

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