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World Cup Daily Recap: Spain loses, eliminated from contention for knockout phase

Day 7 of the World Cup is in the books, and we have our first eliminations and advancements of the tournament.

Netherlands and Chile are officially through, each securing passage out of Group B with one match remaining. They’ll decide who takes top honors in the group on Monday, when they’ll face off against each other in their group stage finale.

Three teams are now out of the contention for the knockout phase, with Spain – yes, Spain! – Australia and Cameroon all losing today to ensure they’ll be headed home after the group stage finishes up.

Here’s how the whole day shook out: 

Netherlands 3-2 Australia | Full Recap

After last week’s 5-1 victory over defending champions Spain, Holland was expected to walkover Australia on Wednesday.

Not so fast.

The Socceroos put up a huge fight in Porto Alegre, briefly holding a 2-1 second half lead before eventually succumbing to the 2010 runner-ups. Holland opened the scoring in the 20th minute, going ahead through Arjen Robben, who now has three goals in the tournament.

Then – barely a minute later – New York Red Bulls striker Tim Cahill did this:

Take a bow, sir.

The Aussies came out strong in the second half, going up 2-1 in the 54th minute, when captain Mile Jedinak buried a controversial penalty kick. Australia’s lead was short lived, however, with Robin van Persie scoring his third goal of the World Cup to equalize in the 58th.

Australia nearly went ahead in the 67th minute, when winger Matthew Leckie chested a cross toward goal that Netherlands ‘keeper Jasper Cilessen held. Holland immediately launched an attack the other way, racing down the field to allow substitute forward Memphis Depay to launch home a winner from just inside the box.

The result – combined with Chile’s win over Spain – pushes the Netherlands through to the next round. Australia has been eliminated from advancing through to the knockout phase. The sides will finish up Group B play on Monday, when Holland will take on Chile in a battle for the top spot in the group and Australia will face off against Spain in a match that – stunningly – won’t count for anything.  

Spain 0-2 Chile | Full Recap

A dynasty died in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, as Spain – the defending World Cup winners and two-time defending European champs – were thoroughly outclassed in a 2-0 loss to Chile to be eliminated from contention for the tournament’s knockout stage.

La Furia Roja were absolutely listless against their South American foe, which put Spain to the sword with two first half goals. The Spanish had no ideas, no creativity and executed miserably, falling out of the World Cup just four years after defeating the Dutch in the 2010 World Cup final.

None of this is to take any credit away from Chile, which played a marvelous first half – scoring in the 19th and 43rd minutes – to secure the passage to the knockout phase. Eduardo Vargas had the first goal, finishing as he was falling backwards to put Chile up 1-0. Charles Aranguiz had the second, toe-poking home a poor punch from Spain ‘keeper Iker Casillas to double the advantage.

Both sides will finish group play on Monday, with Chile taking on Holland in a battle for the top spot in Group B and Spain facing off against Australia in a match between two sides looking for their first point at this World Cup.

Cameroon 0-4 Croatia

This was about as easy as it gets in the World Cup, with Croatia taking advantage of a first half red card to Cameroon midfielder Alex Song to smash the African nation 4-0 in Manaus.

Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic headlined for the Croatians, scoring a pair of goals in his World Cup debut – he was suspended for the opener against Brazil – to set up a winner take-all clash against Mexico next Monday.

The most notable moment of the match wasn’t a Croatia goal, though. Rather, it was Song’s absolutely shocking red card. Video of the boneheaded punch on Mandzukic that saw him correctly sent-off is below:

Both Cameroon and Croatia will finish up Group A play on Monday. Cameroon will play out their tournament against Brazil, while Croatia will take on Mexico in what could turn out to be a loser-goes-home match in Recife.