Netherlands top Group B after 2-0 win over Chile
Posted on Jun 23 2014 | IANS
Sao Paulo (Brazil), June 23 : A hard fought 2-0 win over Chile helped the Netherlands top Group B and record their third consecutive victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Arena Corinthians here Monday.
Substitute Leroy Fer scored the first goal of the match with a clinical header in the 77th minute while another sub Memphis Delay added the finishing touches with a tap in the 90+2 minute.
The Dutch top Group B with nine points while Chile, who had also qualified for the knockout stage, stay on three.
The former will play the team that is placed second in Group A with Chile taking on the toppers.
Brazil lead Group A tied on four points with Mexico but a better goal difference. Croatia on three points are also in contention.
Brazil take on Cameroon while Mexico face Croatia in the group decider later in the day.
The Netherlands were sluggish in attack and the absence of their suspended captain Robin van Persie lacked the cutting edge.
But stand in skipper Arjen Robben was the biggest Dutch threat while Alexis Sanchez was the key player for Chile.
It was a cautious start to the game with Chile holding possession and the Netherlands playing on the counter attack.
Both teams, though, created very little with most of the action taking place in the midfield.
Chile had more creativity but failed to break down the Dutch defence.
Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez was the most dangerous Chilean player on pitch, with his trickery on the wings a constant threat to the opposition defence, while Robben was the only Dutch player to pose any sort of threat in the Chile final third.
Chile had two penalty shouts correctly denied by the referee.
The second half was another cagey affair.
Both goalkeepers had very little to do as the attack left of both teams left a lot to be desired.
Memphis Depay, who scored the winner for the Netherlands in their previous match against Australia, had the first meaningful shot for his team but it was well saved by Chile's goalie.
This year's World Cup has been a success story for substitutes and it was the case once more as Fer, who replaced former Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder, came off the bench to score the winner.
Janmat's inch perfect freekick found Fer absolutely free and the substitute made no mistake and bulleted in his header.
Chile tried their best to find the equaliser but failed to so in front of a well organised Dutch defence.
With Chile pressing hard for a equaliser, they left a big gap at the back and Robben exploited that space and threaded a ball across to Delay for a simple tap in.