Netherlands 2, Chile 0: 2014 FIFA World Cup | Group B Match Recap
The Netherlands wrapped up a perfect run through Group B by dispatching upstart Chile 2-0 on goals by second-half subs Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay.
Chile, who needed a win to leap over the Dutch and finish atop the group and likely avoid a match-up against Brazil, pushed the game from the start. But the Netherlands sat back, conceded possession, defended as a unit and then exposed the Chileans' weaknesses on set pieces (75' header goal by Fer) and on the counter (92nd minute goal by Depay).
Both teams will need to wait for results from Group A to find out their opponents in the Round of 16.
CHILEAN ACHILLES: Chile are the shortest team at this World Cup and Fer took full advantage in the 77th minute on a corner kick, scoring his first international goal just 90 seconds after entering the match.
90 - Leroy Fer scored 90 seconds after coming on, the fastest goal by a sub at this World Cup. Super. #NED— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 23, 2014
BOTHERING ALEXIS: Alexis Sanchez has been one of the most electrifying players in the tournament so far and Dutch manager Louis van Gaal knew it. The Dutch had a strategy to frustrate Sanchez by fouling him consistently throughout the game -- a total of nine times.
FEW CHANCES: The first half was not one of the most memorable of this World Cup. After the two sides dazzled the world in their opening two matches, they combined for zero shots on target and 20 fouls. The Netherlands, who completed just two passes in the final third, had the best chances of the half: Stefan de Vrij's set piece opportunity (35th minute) and a weaving run by Arjen Robben that finished with a wide shot (40th minute).
27% - The Netherlands had just 27% possession in the first half but attempted more shots than Chile (5-3). Plan.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 23, 2014
STARS MISSING: Two of the biggest names at this World Cup were absent for the match. Chilean Arturo Vidal, who was coming off an injury entering the tournament, was given some time to rest his knee after playing in 148 minutes through the first two games. Robin van Persie, one of the top scorers at the World Cup, was forced to sit due to yellow card accumulation.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ron Vlaar, defender, Netherlands. Marshalled a strong five-man backline for the Dutch, who comfortably held off all Chilean advances through the middle.