World Cup - Netherlands down Chile to top Group B

World Cup, Group B, Arena Corinthians – Netherlands 2 (Fer 77, Depay 90+1) Chile 0

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World Cup - Netherlands down Chile to top Group B
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Leroy Fer of the Netherlands (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their 2014 World Cup Group B (Reuters)

The Netherlands have finished on top of Group B after substitutes Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay scored late against a competitive Chile.

Chile had looked the better team for long periods of the match but two moments of class from Louis van Gaal’s men decided the match.

In topping the group, the Netherlands avoid a likely second round encounter against Brazil.

The match looked destined for a draw and Chile actually looked the more likely to score but substitute Fer made an instant impact after coming on for the ineffective Wesley Sneijder. The Norwich man rose to head in a well-worked corner after the ball was played short to Daryl Janmaat, who whipped in a wicked cross.

Still Chile pressed for the unlikely win and were caught late on the counter, the excellent Arjen Robben crossing into the feet of Depay to tap home.

Chile had their moments and will count themselves unlucky to lose such a tight encounter. But they will remain optimistic of providing a tough challenge for whoever they face in the second round, even if it is to be Brazil.

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KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Robin van Persie misses out through suspension, so in comes Jeremiah Lens and Dirk Kuyt. For Chile, Charles Aranguiz is fit to start after being substituted early against Spain but Arturo Vidal misses out.

13’ – CHANCE CHILE: Good ball into the box from Mena and Vargas gets a head on it. Tough half chance and it goes wide.

22’ – CHANCE CHILE: Sanchez plays an inventive free kick across goal and Gutierrez runs onto it but it bobbles just before he hits it and it flies over.

34’ – CHANCE HOLLAND: Robben whips in a great outswinging free kick to the far post and De Vrij is on the end of it but heads wide. Should have done better.

36’ – CHILE PENALTY CLAIM: Sanchez goes down in the box under pressure from Kuyt but there’s minimal contact. Good decision.

39’ – ROBBEN FIRES WIDE: It’s a trademark run and shot but he doesn’t catch it clean and it’s wide of Bravo’s post.

44’ – CHANCE CHILE: Gutierrez squanders the chance of the half as his free header unmarked in the box goes over.

63’ – CHILE PENALTY SHOUT: Alexis nips the ball past Cillessen who puts his hand out. He goes to ground but not even a corner is given.

65’ – CILLESSEN SAVE: He narrows the angle to beat away Alexis’ drive.

76’ – BRAVO SAVE: He tips Depay’s fierce drive over the bar.

77’ - GOAL NETHERLANDS: It’s in from the resultant corner as Fer heads home his first for Holland.

90+1’ – GOAL NETHERLANDS: Depay seals it as he slots home Robben’s cross.

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MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

KEY STATS

Fer scored 90 seconds after coming off the bench - the fastest goal by a sub at this World Cup.

Netherlands claimed their first clean sheet in eight World Cup matches.

The Dutch have now scored in nine of their last 10 World Cup games.

Memphis Depay has scored in successive appearances for the Netherlands.

Gary Medel attempted 103 passes against the Netherlands; the most ever recorded by a Chile player in a World Cup (since 1966).

Chile have won only two of their last 12 World Cup clashes with European opposition.

Netherlands have taken nine points from the group stage for the second World Cup in a row; they haven’t lost a World Cup group game since 1994.

Chile only managed one shot on target against the Netherlands.

Eight of the Netherland’s last nine World Cup goals have come in the second half.

This was only the second time in their last 13 World Cup matches Chile had failed to score.

TALKING POINT

Did the Dutch miss Van Persie? It was a strangely subdued performance for the Dutch who opted to use Kuyt as a wing back and were often caught short by Chile in the midfield. Perhaps a change of tactics is required if they are to go deep in the tournament but even with all this they got the job done.

MAN OF THE MATCH

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Alexis Sanchez (Chile): The standout player on the park, at the heart of everything creative for Chile. Unlucky to be on the losing side.

PLAYER RATINGS

Netherlands: Cillessen 6, Vlaar 6, De Vrij 6, Blind 5, De Jong 6, Janmaat 7, Sneijder 6, Robben 7, Kuyt 5, Lens 6, Wijnaldum 6 SUBS: Memphis 7, Fer 7, Kongolo 6.

Chile: Bravo 6, Mena 7, Isla 6, Silva 6, Sanchez 8, Vargas 7, Gutierrez 5, Medel 7, Jara 6, Aranguiz 6, Diaz 6. SUBS: Beausejour 6, Valdivia 6, Pinilla 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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