by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 23rd 2014)
Despite his complaints of a conspiracy to help Brasil, the Netherlandsʼ manager Louis van Gaal saw his team do what they had to see off the challenge of Jorge Sampaoli Moyaʼs Chile with a 2-0 victory in São Paulo. A largely tactical battle of wits was decided – eventually – by the class of Arjen Robben. Bayern Münchenʼs winger had a hand in both goals.
With 15 minutes or so remaining Robben pulled his corner back to Daryl Janmaat who crossed into the area for substitute Leroy Fer to break the deadlock. Chile, already needing to beat the Dutch, had to chase goals and were caught on the counter-attack in injury time after a long pass down the left wing by Nigel de Jong to Robben before he squared it for another Memphis Depay to make an impact from the bench again.
Chile progress to the last sixteen where they will play the winners of Group A – Brasilʼs group. The Dutch will face the runners-up.
Nip and Tuck
Feyenoordʼs Stefan de Vrij should have done far better from Robbenʼs free-kick in the first half, but headed over. Chile, meanwhile, seemed determined to be awarded a penalty. They had four appeals – two laughable. Another was closer, but replays proved it a fair tackle. The last was a clear foul on substitute Mauricio Pinilla. Pity the off-side flag was raised first – correctly. Gambian referee Bakary Gassama was proved right on each occasion.
Both the Netherlands and Chile must now wait to see who they will play as Group A is finalised this evening when Brasil play the already eliminated Cameroun and Croatia and México meet in Recife.