Champions Spain out of World Cup, Dutch march on
By Andrew Cawthorne
BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - Holders Spain crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday with barely a fight after their second shock defeat while 2010 runners-up the Netherlands continued their perfect start with another high-scoring win.
Thrashed 5-1 by the Dutch in their opening game, Spain's normally composed and incisive team again collapsed quickly at the back, this time against Chile who scored twice in the first half then held firm for a glorious win.
"It is difficult to explain," bemoaned Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas. "We ask people's forgiveness. We are responsible but also the first ones to feel the pain."
The undisputed kings of global football in recent years, Spain won the 2008 European Championship and their first World Cup in South Africa four years ago plus Euro 2012. But their supremacy is no more and an ageing team needs to be reformed.
Chile, who had not beaten Spain in 10 previous games, looked sharper and more aggressive from the start.
Eduardo Vargas turned Casillas and avoided lunging defender Sergio Ramos to score the first after 20 minutes, before Charles Aranguiz struck the second just before halftime, sending the red-clad hordes of South American fans delirious.
Seemingly perennial nearly-men the Netherlands, who have lost three World Cup finals including to Spain in 2010, continued their storming start to the tournament with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Australia.
In a fantastic end-to-end match in Porto Alegre, "Socceroos" veteran Tim Cahill smacked in a spectacular volley that should be a contender for goal of the World Cup. Continued...