NETHERLANDS 2-0 CHILE
MONDAY 23RD JUNE – SAO PAULO
Arjen Robben proved to be a contender to win the coveted Golden Ball at the end of the tournament, with another display of his blistering pace and great vision to help the Dutch claim top spot in Group B with a 2-0 win over Chile.
Louis van Gaal made a few changes in his line-up, with yet another 3-5-2 formation with Daryl Janmaat (right) and Dirk Kuyt (left) playing wing backs, the latter making his 99th cap for Oranje. With Robin van Persie missing out due to suspension, Dynamo Kiev’s Jeremain Lens given a start up front.
Jorge Sampoli gave a rest to Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal as he continues his recovery from knee surgery, but it changed little in the way the Chileans have played throughout the tournament. Felipe Gutierrez, of Dutch side FC Twente, was still as energetic in the middle of the park, not letting the Dutch get hold of the possession. The first half was an entertaining stalemate and as momentum was finally swaying into Louis van Gaal’s men’s hands, Gambian referee Bakary Gassama blew for half-time.
The second half began more cautious and neither side looked too concerned going for the three points. It was up to Arjen Robben to finally bring one of the goalkeepers into action as another ferocious run into the area saw the angle go against him as Chile closed him down, with the shot fired into the body of Claudio Bravo, who gathered after his first fumble.
Louis van Gaal looked at the last twenty minutes as a chance to go for the win and the ineffective Lens making way for Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven. Chile had ideas too as they went playmaker Jorge Valdivia replacing defender Francisco Silva in an attempt to open up the game.
Norwich midfielder Leroy Fer was introduced for Wesley Sneijder with 15 minutes remaining and he nodded his side in front within a minute of being on the pitch. His first touch was a thumping header from a corner to give Bravo in goal no chance of stopping. Fer, with a great leap, rose above everyone from six yards out to send the Orange clad fans behind the goal into raptures.
The Dutch made sure of the points in stoppage time as Robben raced clear from the chasing Chilean defenders Netherlands. The Bayern Munich winger showed great vision and awareness to square the ball across the face of goal for other substitute Memphis Depay to secure the victory and top spot in the group.
NETHERLANDS: Cillessen, Vlaar, De Vrij, Blind, Kuyt (Kongolo 89), Janmaat, De Jong, Sneijder (Fer 75), Robben, Lens (Depay 69), Wijnaldum.
GOALS: Fer 76, Depay 90+2.
BOOKINGS: Blind 64.
CHILE: Bravo, Mena, Isla, Silva (Valdivia 71), Sanchez, Vargas (Pinalla 81), Gutierrez (Beausejour 46), Medel, Jara, Aranguiz, Diaz.
BOOKINGS: Silva 25.
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