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My Take on Match Day 2 in World Cup

courtesy mlssoccer.com

courtesy mlssoccer.com

On Friday, June 13th there were three matches played in Brazil for match day two of the 2014 World Cup. Two of the matches turned out the way I thought they would. The other match was a shock to me and most likely everybody else that is a fan of the beautiful game.

The first match of the day saw Mexico and Cameroon battle in Natal. Mexico could have easily been up 2-0 at the half and they probably should have if it wasn’t for some questionable officiating. Two of Mexico’s goals were called back as the assistant referee determined the player(s) were offsides. Replays showed that they were not. In the end it did not hurt Mexico as they were able to finally get the game winning goal in the 60th minute as Oribe Peralta scored from a rebound that fell to his feet. They are now second in Group A  behind the host nation Brazil, who they will face on Tuesday, June 17th in Fortaleza.

The second match of the day turned out to be a real shocker for me. In a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, the Netherlands got the last laugh as they pummeled the defending world champions, Spain. Spain jumped out to an early lead in the 27th minute after the Dutch were called for a penalty in the box. Xavi Alonso converted it to get the Spanish an early lead. That would be the lone highlight on the evening for Spain.

Just before halftime Robin van Persie  scored an absolutely beautiful goal on a header in the 44th minute. In the end I’m sure it will be up for the goal of the tournament. The half time whistle blew and both teams headed to the locker room. In the 53rd minute Arjen Robben put the Dutch up for good with his first goal of the tournament. Stephan de Vrij added to that lead in the 64th minute. After the goal from Vrij, the rout was on. I don’t know if the Spaniards were pushing forward trying to get a goal back but the Dutch just kept tearing apart their defense time after time. The final 26 minutes saw the Dutch scored two more goals as both van Persie and Robben recorded a brace.

This was an absolute shock to me. I figured Spain would win this match 2-1 or maybe even 3-2 but I did not expect the Netherlands to put 5 goals on Iker Casillas (remember he is my goal keeper for our World Cup Fantasy Challenge).

The third and final match of the day took place in Cuiaba as Chile and Australia faced off against each other. Chile jumped all over the Socceroos when they scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match. In doing so Chile became the first team since Germany in 2006 to accomplish that feat.

At this point I figured this match could end in a 4-0 or even a 5-0 score line. I will give credit where credit is do. Australia hung in there and weathered the stormed and fought back. The had a little help as Chile were getting a little cute and looking for that extra pass in the final 18.

Tim Cahill got the Aussies on the board in the 35th minute after the ball was crossed into the box and he headed it into the back of the net. For the rest of the first half it seemed as if Chile was shocked that the Socceroos had this much fight in them. Australia came out in the second half and pressed and pressed for that equalizing goal. The Aussies thought they got it in the 53rd minuted but the assistant referee raised his flag for offsides and was correct in doing so.

I must say I was extremely impressed with the Aussies wing players, Mathew Leckie and Tommy Oar. They were all over the pitch the entire night. One minute they would be back playing defense and the next thing you know they were on the counter-attack. As the last 15 minutes of the match approached you could see Australia was tiring from having to chase the game early on in the match. Eventually it caught up to them in the 90+2′ as Jean Beausejour scored the third and final goal to seal all three point for Chile.

Australia earned my respect and I believe they will give Spain all they can handle when they face off later on in the group stage. If the next four weeks are as exciting and good as these past two days then we are going to be having a lot of fun watching this tournament.

Chris Blakely writes for Stoppage Time Soccer. You can follow him on Twitter @TheRealCBlakely

 

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