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World Cup 2014
 

Chile 3 Australia 1: Highlights, key battles, and what the result means

Published on Jun 14, 2014 8:19 AM
 
Chile's forward Alexis Sanchez (front) and Australia's forward Ben Halloran vie for the ball during a Group B football match between Chile and Australia at the Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba during the 2014 Fifa World Cup on June 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Meeting for only the second time in the World Cup, the first 40 years ago was a goalless draw in West Germany, it didn't take long for the goals to flow.

The Chileans, rated as dark horses in Brazil, raced to a 2-0 lead within 14 minutes through star forward Alexis Sanchez and playmaker Jorge Valdivia. But Australia had an ace in Tim Cahill and the former Everton man scored with a trademark header in the 35th minute to reduce the deficit.

It got even more entertaining in the second-half as the Socceroos, branded no-hopers, staged a gutsy fightback with Cahill, the False Nine who wears No.4, giving the fleet-footed Chileans a mighty scare with their constant air raids. But midfielder Jean Beausejour hammered home a stoppage time piledriver to secure the 3-1 win and all three points.

Highlights

- Chile's rapid passing game and kaleidoscope of movement had Australia chasing shadows. The South Americans enjoyed as much as 74 per cent possession in the first-half.

- The Chileans' first two goals through Sanchez and Valdivia came as a result of their intricate passing.

- Australia's never say die spirit lit up Cuiaba's Arena Pantanal as they tried to overpower Chile with an aerial bombardment.


Key battles

Mile Jedinak vs Alexis Sanchez

Not for nothing is Sanchez the heartbeat of the Chile team. The Barcelona man's beautiful ball control and deadly finishing got him his country's first goal in Brazil and he promptly set up Valdivia for the second.

Australia needed to muzzle the rampant Sanchez and while Jedinak struggled at first, he improved as the game progressed.

And the Crystal Palace midfielder's rugged approach, which earned him a yellow card, seemed to work as Sanchez's influence fizzled out but the damage was already done much earlier.

Man of the Match

Standing at 1.78m, not very tall for an elite footballer, Tim Cahill has perfected the art of hanging in the air and he showed against Chile why he is one of the best headers of the ball in the world.

The 34-year-old had four such efforts in Cuiaba. Scoring one, one disallowed, one on target and another just over the bar. Australia's attacks only had one plan - And that is to get the ball to Air Cahill. One-dimensional but the ex-Everton man really gave Chile the fear of flying.

Cahill now joins Germany's Uwe Seeler and the King of Football, Pele, as a select band of players who had scored in three World Cups.

What the result means

With Spain getting hammered 5-1 by the Netherlands, Chile can sense blood dripping from the defending world champions. The two sides will meet on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium and Jorge Sampaoli's men are on a high and on a mission to make history by ending tiki-taka's grip on the trophy. As for Australia, they meet the mighty Netherlands next but their fighting spirit will ensure they will not be chewed up like the Spaniards.

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