Wednesday’s World Cup games started with plenty of excitement and continued with an equal amount of shock in the second game. Here’s a look at the Group B action from Wednesday in Brazil.
Australia 2 – Netherlands 3
Australia has the worst odds to win the World Cup at 3000/1 when the tournament first started. The Netherlands found themselves a favorite with 10/1 odds and they looked even better after a 5-1 drubbing of Spain. But on Wednesday night, it was hard to tell that these teams had such different expectations. Instead, we saw a riveting game that went back and forth the entire time.
The scoring started when Arjen Robben put one past Maty Ryan at the 20’ mark. But just 13 seconds later, Aussie captain Tim Cahill would return the favor and tie things up at one, which is where things stood at halftime. However, despite the tie score on the scoreboard, the future of Australia certainly did not look good. Just before half, Cahill would get his second yellow card of the tournament and he’ll miss their next game against Spain.
Despite any personal frustration that may have come from the Cahill call, Australia struck first in the second half when Mile Jedinak scored at 54’. Robin van Persie would get the equalizer four minutes later to tie things up again and substitute Memphis Depay would seal the deal with his goal at the 68’ mark.
Australia may be eliminated from tournament contention, but they certainly gave the Netherlands a handful of troubles. The Netherlands has already advanced, but they will finish up group play with a match against Chile next.
Spain 0 – Chile 2
In 2006, Italy won the World Cup and had high expectations in 2010. To the shock of many, the Italians looked horrible in South Africa and didn’t advance from group play. Well, the curse of defending champions has continued as the winners of the 2010 tournament, Spain, have been ousted after two consecutive losses to start things in Brazil.
What may be more surprising about Spain is that they were ranked as one of the top teams by FIFA going into the World Cup. They sat with the second best odds, only behind the home team from Brazil. But when things started out with a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands, there was certainly reason for concern. And after a 2-0 loss to Chile, this certainly has to be one of the most surprising storylines of the tournament thus far.
Chile didn’t waste much time getting on the board as Eduardo Vargas scored at the 11’ mark. And while Spain kept attacking and kept shooting, you could see the emotional hit that they took when Chile’s Charles Arånguiz scored just two minutes before halftime.
Spain had eight more shots than Chile (15-7), including five more on goal (9-4). They also had 6 more corner kicks (7-1) and controlled the ball for 56% of the game. However, that simply wasn’t enough and Iker Casillas certainly didn’t look like himself in net.
Group B was expected to be taken by the Netherlands and Spain. However, now that Chile has stepped into the mix, everything has changed. The Chileans have increased their odds for winning the World Cup to 20/1 after their win. The irony of this all may be the fact that now Chile and the Netherlands will play each other in the last game of Group B play. Typically, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team that has already guaranteed their spot in the next round to take it easy and rest some of their star players in the last game of group play. However, there now seems to be more on the line as both teams will be fighting for the top spot in Group B.
Netherlands are the favorites and Chile is the surprising squad. You can check back with sportspicks.com before this game kicks off on Tuesday, for insight into who has the best chances of winning this group.