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Monday, June 23, 2014

The FIFA World Cup Postgame Thread #1 For 6/23/14: Group B Finale Recap



FT: Netherlands 2-0 Chile 

No Van Persie, no problem for a great mental performance today from the Dutch side. Although Chile did not have Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben will get the headlines again, most encouraging for Van Gaal will be seeing the best defensive display of the three matches for his team.

The inclusion of Dirk Kuyt at left back and moving Daley Blind on the inside in the three centerback role prove to be quite effective. Although Alexis Sanchez did have his moments,  most of them happened on the outside of the box. Eduardo Vargas didn't have anything significant in this match and that is a testament to the organized displays from Ron Vlaar and Stefan De Vrij.

If there was one team in this tournament who do not fear facing Brazil in a Round of 16 encounter, it is certainly Chile. With Vidal fully rested now, they will need everything from the Juventus man to cause the big upset.

Meanwhile, the Dutch will await Mexico or Croatia in the Round of 16. And although both sides are no slouches, it will be quite the disappointment if the Dutch with Robben and Van Persie in top form bow out at the first knockout stage.
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FT: Australia 0-3 Spain 



The tears say it all from David Villa.

When Vincente Del Bosque subbed him off , it was the lachrymose symbol of an era closing with the Spanish national team. Xabi Alonso had said that he doesn't want to hang up the international jersey, and neither has Iker Casillas or Xavi Hernandez.

But Villa's exit out of the game after his top class opener might as well have represented all of the four stalwarts seeing the final chapter of their legendary international careers.

The pride of this Spanish national team could not see them suffer no less than a victory to see their departure for Brazil. Ange Postecoglou's side were great in their 10 day stay of the World Cup and played their aggressive 4-3-3 style instead of setting back like some thought they would. But the backline organization, after so many changes and injuries, was always at risk of getting exposed at any point and was on good Iniesta and Fabregas passes.

Torres scoring the second could very well be his last World Cup moment of significance either, while Juan Mata finishing the final goal may also see Vincente Del Bosque witnessing his last goal as Spain's manager.

A manager whose legacy will not be tarnished despite the horrors of the first two matches in Brazil, and a legacy that that has enriched team football unlike any other.  
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