Well I’m back from my Tyneside sabbatical and straight back into work, which meant I Chile2missed the Holland v. Australia game. By all accounts the Aussies held their own against the three times finalists and took the lead at one stage, nevertheless the 3-2 defeat means that Australia will be going home.

The game of this group for me though was always going to be Spain v. Chile and I don’t think anyone who watched it can say that they were disappointed in what they witnessed. Spain lost 2-0 to the Chileans, who deserved their historic victory over the reigning champions. Two first half goals decided the game with the classy Vargas of Juve netting in the nineteenth minute and Charles Aranguiz scoring just before half time. Aranguiz actually plays his club football in Brazil with Sport Club Internacional.  During and after the game I reflected on how my understanding of Spanish football (and the things that surround Spanish football) has changed since the last World Cup. Last time around I was fully behind La Roja but this time I couldn’t be arsed with them. Many of the people who I have been going to football with over the last couple of years, from Bilbao to Cadiz, have no time for the international Spanish Selection and the hype that surrounds them. Spain is still a dived country politically and nowhere is that more reflected than on the football terraces. Many of the people that I have gotten to know at football were tweeting and posting on Facebook less than complementary things about their country’s football demise on the international stage. My own point of view is that Spain will be back soon with a new crop of fantastic players, there is no shortage of talent waiting in the wings amongst the U20 and U21 teams and with the right coach they will be back on track soon. As I said in my last piece the current holders of the Spain shirt look jaded and why Costa was taken to the World Cup will always mystify me, Spain has an abundance of talent without recruiting Brazilians into their squad.

As for Chile they look like a real team that are playing for each other and it’s amazing to Chile1think that their central defence consisted of a midfielder from Cardiff and a right back from Nottingham Forest. Gonzalo Jara (great name) and Gary Medal kept over £80m of Chelsea striking talent at bay……you have to love that! I also think their Argentinean coach is good craic too and what I read about him I like him more and more each day, as he is keeping his team’s feet firmly on the floor, with a game by game approach. (I’ve heard that somewhere before?)

I’m hoping that Chile can go far in this tournament but that will probably depend upon the outcome of the next game. They have to beat Holland to finish top of the group, which will probably mean avoiding Brazil. However I wouldn’t put it past this team to knock out the hosts just like they did the holders. From the TV coverage they seemed to have great backing too from their Barra Bravas in Rio, who looked in the main to be from Chile’s biggest club Colo-Colo.

So Spain and Australia go home with the Spanish sports paper Marca screaming THE END, in English. Chile and Holland though march on, but which one will avoid the hosts?

Adios until next time……

Tony Higgins @higgins1892


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