Day 2 of the 2014 World Cup is in the books, and the three-match slate brought with it the first big shocker of the tournament.
Defending world champions Spain were sure to be tested in their opener against the Netherlands, a rematch of the 2010 final. But few expected a Dutch offensive onslaught en route to a 5-1 victory, as the Spanish opened up with a loss for the second straight World Cup.
That was far from the only result on Friday, as two more exciting matches completed the day of action and offered plenty of storylines heading into Day 3 and beyond.
Let's break down the latest group standings and highlight the Day 2 results.
|2014 World Cup Group Standings|
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Day 2 Results
Mexico 1-0 Cameroon
Two goals spoiled by bad officiating decisions looked to doom Mexico in their opener against Cameroon, but El Tri prevailed with a second-half winner that allowed Mexico to squeak out the 1-0 victory.
Giovani dos Santos put Mexico ahead not once, but twice in the opening half of play for Mexico in Brazil. But as ESPN Stats and Information noted, officiating was the story early on.
The early letdowns didn't do much to soil Mexico's spirits, however. They pressed and pressed and pressed, and eventually, the winner came.
Mexico threatened into Cameroon territory with a splendid passing display, which left Dos Santos one-on-one with Cameroonian goalkeeper Charles Itandje. It was all he could do to muster up a save, which left Oribe Peralta with an open net to finish in.
He placed the ball in the back of the net in the 64th minute, and it was all Mexico would need.
Mexico were tested in one final instance in stoppage time, but Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa stretched out to displace a header that would have been the equalizer for Cameroon in the late moments.
Getting three points was crucial for Mexico, who face hosts Brazil next in Group A. With Croatia falling to the Brazilians in Thursday's opener, the road is paved for the Mexicans to advance out of the group.
Netherlands 5-1 Spain
With Netherlands out for blood after their crushing 2010 World Cup final defeat and Spain having lost in their opener in South Africa four years prior, it wasn't surprising to see the Spanish struggle in their opening 90 minutes.
But nobody expected this.
The Dutch poured on five goals in a striking display of power, and the defending world champions were left licking their wounds after a demoralizing, 5-1 defeat.
Spain got in front early on when Diego Costa was brought down in the box and a controversial penalty was called, but it didn't take long for the Netherlands to get going. Robin van Persie equalized with a beautiful header just before the halftime break.
The Dutch were just getting started there. Arjen Robben took off in the second half, finishing a Daley Blind cross in the 53rd minute and scoring again in the 80th minute for his brace.
With an Iker Casillas gaffe leading to another Van Persie goal and Stefan de Vrij adding a header in the 65th minute, the Netherlands cruised to victory in the closing moments as Spain were left shellshocked.
Fortunately for Spain, there are still two matches left in the group stage and they both come against winnable opposition—Chile and Australia. But getting off on the wrong foot this time around has to be disheartening for the Spanish.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands could take a stranglehold over the group with another lopsided win over Australia likely upcoming.
Chile 3-1 Australia
With the shocking Netherlands-Spain result, Group B suddenly became wide open heading into Chile's matchup with Australia on Friday evening.
It didn't take long for the Chileans to take hold of that opportunity.
Barcelona standout Alexis Sanchez got Chile on the board in the 12th minute, and just two minutes later, his side was celebrating their second goal in as many minutes when Jorge Valdivia connected with a masterful finish in the top-left corner to put Chile up 2-0.
After being dominated in possession early on, though, Australia found their footing for a brief moment. A cross into the box was finished by Tim Cahill, who skied up and put the ball in the net to cut Chile's lead in half.
Chile rarely ever showed their early dominance after exploding in the first few minutes, but the defense tightened up and prevented the Aussies from tying things up. Australia's 12 total shots—four on goal—ended up not being enough to net an equalizer.
For insurance, Chile netted their third goal of the game in stoppage time when Jean Beausejour put one in.
Friday's match was undoubtedly the easiest of the group stage for both these teams as the Dutch and Spain await, and Chile took advantage of the chance by nabbing three points. If they are to find a way to draw against Spain, they could find their way into the knockout stage in improbable fashion.
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