WORLD CUP: Spain edge out ten-man Chile
Spain overcame a shaky opening to score twice in the first half to win 2-1 against a skilful Chile and finish head of Group H. CHI: 1 SPA: 2
Venue: Free State Stadium, Pretoria Crowd: 41,958 Officials Referee: Alberto Undiano (Spain) Assistants: Fermin Martinez & Juan Carlos Yuste Jimenez (Spain) Fourth official: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland) Yellow cards: Carrizo, Medel, CHI - SPA -
Red cards: Estrada (Chile) MATCH REPORT Both Chile and Spain progress into the last 16, but once the South Americans were reduced to ten men the second half faded into a possession game with both teams happy to accept the result and go through the motions.
Yet for the first twenty minutes Chile rattled Spain with their pressing play and pacey attacks. Once Fernando Torres had wasted a couple of early chances it was Chile who made all the running as the Spaniards were not allowed to settle and play their passing game.
Then out of nothing Spain took the lead on 23 minutes when Claudio Bravo raced out of goal to clear from Torres but the ball fell to David Villa some 45 yards out who coolly returned the ball into an empty net.
Still Chile pressed and Jean Beausejour saw a shot deflected narrowly wide but again Spain scored against the run of play. Torres found Villa on the left and his clipped pass inside to Andres Iniesta was marvellously placed past the diving Bravo.
Chile also had a dark side to their game as shown by three yellow cards in the first 20 minutes and one recipient Marco Estrada was dismissed, rather unluckily, as a result of tangling with Torres in the build up to the second goal.
But within a minute of the second half Chile rattled Spain with an immediate reply. Substitute Rodrigo Millar got lucky when his 18 yard effort took a wicked deflection off Gerard Pique leaving keeper Iker Casillas stranded.
Then for a few minutes Chile threatened to make light of being one man down as Spain began to have the same doubts as afflicted them early in the first half.
But gradually normality was restored and Spain began to make the extra man pay and their passing game easily retained possession whilst Chile simply defended in depth until we had an impasse which was played out at walking pace in the final ten minutes. Starting Line-Ups
1. Claudio Bravo 4. Mauricio Isla 17. Gary Medel 3. Waldo Ponce 18. Gonzalo Jara 8. Arturo Vidal 13. Marco Estrada 11. Mark Gonzalez (Paredes, 46) 7. Alexis Sanchez (Orellana, 65) 10. Jorge Valdivia (Rodrigo Millar, 46) 15. Jean Beausejour SUBS
1. Iker Casillas 15. Garcia Sergio Ramos 3. Gerard Pique 5. Carles Puyol 11. Joan Capdevila 8. Hernandez Xavi 16. Sergio Busquets 14. Xabi Alonso (Javi Martinez, 73) 6. Andres Iniesta 9. Fernando Torres (Fabregas, 55) 7. David Villa
12. Victor Valdes (GK) 2. Raul Albiol 4. Carlos Marchena 10. Francesc Fabregas 13. Juan Mata 17. Alvaro Arbeloa 18. Rodriguez Pedro 19. Fernando Llorente 20. Aguinaga Javi Martinez 21. David Silva 22. Gonzalez Jesus Navas 23. Jose Reina (GK)