Group B action finished Friday night with Chile and Australia both playing well, but Chile stealing the 3-points.
Despite coming out lightning quick and almost ending the game in the ’14th minute, Chile almost blew a 2-goal lead by becoming too relaxed in their play. Scoring first in the ’12th minute, Chile midfielder Charles Aranguiz played a ball inside of the 18-yard box to forward Alexis Sanchez. Aranguiz took over the ball from Sanchez and after luring the keeper out of position, lofted a chipped ball to the penalty spot. Forward Eduardo Vargas headed a ball down towards Sanchez who calmly used his chest to set up a right foot shot past Australian keeper Maty Ryan.
The goal was the first in a 2-minute span. Following a throw-in, Chile defender Mauricio Isla played a ball into Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez turned with technical precision quickly accelerating into open space just outside of the top of the 18-yard box finding midfielder Jorge Valdivia on the far side. Valdivia showed great composure and struck with supreme accuracy, even fooling the keeper who thought it was over the crossbar. Valdivia’s strike was placed perfectly along the top of the goal giving Chile what seemed to be a decisive win, even though the game was still in the early stages.
Australia would not be counted out so quickly. After the two goals they scored Chile seemed to be a very plain and complacent. Playing with no real urgency, this opened the door for senior forward and captain of the Australian team, Tim Cahill. Australia began pushing forward after the goal in the ’14th minute and began to show real promise in the attack. In the ’35th minute, Australian defender Ivan Franjic made a strong tackle to win the ball and would eventually cross that ball into the 18-yard box where Tim Cahill put it into the back of the net. The header was such a powerful statement as Australia began to pick up momentum going into the half, down 1-2.
Australia would continue to put Chile on its heels playing well early and most of the 2nd half. Cahill thought he had the equalizer in the ’53rd minute but the goal was disallowed because Cahill was offsides. The replay showed the assistant referee made the correct call. Just minutes later Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had to make a diving stop to prevent the 2-2 scoreline as Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano fired a shot on goal.
Though Australia fought hard, they could not equalize and would receive the dagger in the ’92nd minute courtesy of Chile’s Jean Beausejour who finished a deflected shot that bounced to him outside of the penalty box. Beausejour struck a left footed shot on the ground across the penalty box finding the back right corner of the net, securing the coveted 3-points.
Next up for Chile is a deflated Spain team looking to rebound from a horrific loss. They play 6/18.
Australia will get the privilege of playing the Netherlands fresh off their scoring extravaganza. They play 6/18.