The second day of the 2014 World Cup featured plenty of excitement, controversy and certainly some surprises.
Mexico were barely able to survive a tough test against Cameroon in the first match of the day. The second contest was supposed to be the best as a rematch of the 2010 final, but Netherlands got their revenge with a dominant victory. Finally, Chile scored two early and held on late for a win against Australia.
This continues the beginning of what should be an excited month from Brazil. Here is a breakdown of the results from Day 2 at the World Cup.
Day 2 Recap
Mexico 1, Cameroon 0
It took a long time for Mexico to finally get a goal that counted, but they were able to do enough to get the necessary three points from this match.
After it appeared El Tri had the first goal in the opening few minutes of the match, it was called back due to offsides that later turned out to be false, via Business Insider:
Later in the first half, Mexico put a second shot into the back of the net, but once again it was denied by a controversial offsides call.
Fortunately, the team was finally able to get onto the scoresheet in the second half. Giovani dos Santos made a great run toward the net and was denied, but Oribe Peralta was able to get the rebound to knock it into the net, as captured by SportsCenter:
Things got questionable late when Benjamin Moukandjo headed a ball toward the corner of the net, but Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a fantastic save to keep his side ahead.
Although things were not easy, Mexico deserved the win after controlling possession for 58 percent of the match and doing a good job of attacking throughout. The defense limited opportunities, and it led to a clean sheet for the favorites.
Things will get tougher in the next two matches against Brazil and Croatia, but the three points are all that matters from this first contest.
Netherlands 5, Spain 1
After winning the previous World Cup and last two European championships, Spain were clearly one of the favorites heading into this tournament. However, it was Netherlands that sent a message with their first match.
The Dutch gave up the first goal of the match on a penalty shot after a questionable foul call against Stefan de Vrij. Xabi Alonso put the shot away to give Spain a 1-0 lead.
However, it was all the Netherlands from this point on. They scored the equaliser just before halftime on an incredible header by Robin van Persie, a shot that makes more sense with a cape on his back:
This was the first of two goals for Van Persie, while Arjen Robben scored two as well. De Vrij also made up for his earlier foul with a score of his own in a match that was truly an embarrassment for Spain.
Although there were some major question marks about the Dutch heading into this event, it now seems like they will have an easy time advancing to the next stage.
The question is where Spain goes from here. Unsurprisingly, plenty of fans want to see changes going forward, as noted by Bleacher Report's Karl Matchett:
On the other hand, manager Vicente del Bosque remained calm when talking to SporTV, via Mark Doyle of Goal.com:
There is no need for a revolution. We did not win but we will move on and try to win the next game. This is a very delicate moment for us. We must all try to resolve this, beat Chile, and move on from there.
It's sport, we must accept defeat. They were better in the second half. If Silva makes it 2-0… but they caught us. In the second half they had more chances, found lots of space, we were too weak in defence. There were errors but we all fought for the result. We got down mentally, it was not about the physical state.
Still, there are plenty of question marks for the defending champions going forward in this tournament.
Chile 3, Australia 1
In the first few moments of the match, it seemed like Chile were going to come away with an easy victory. They got early goals from Alexis Sanchez in the 12th minute and then Jorge Valdivia in the 14th minute to seemingly pull away.
When Tim Cahill finally got Australia on the scoresheet in the 35th minute, it was the most surprising moment of the match.
Brian Phillips of Grantland mocked Chile overlooking their opponent:
However, things were much different from that point as Australia had plenty of chances to even up the match. Unfortunately for the Socceroos, they were never able to get that second goal.
Jean Beausejour then scored the third goal of the match for Chile in stoppage time to ensure the victory. CBS Sports provided a good review of the contest:
Chile will now move onto face an angry Spain squad, while Australia will have to slow down the suddenly red-hot Netherlands.
|2014 World Cup Group Standings|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014 World Cup Initial Fixtures|
|Brazil vs. Croatia (Brazil wins 3-1)||Thursday, June 12|
|Mexico vs. Cameroon||Friday, June 13|
|Spain vs. Netherlands||Friday, June 13|
|Chile vs. Australia||Friday, June 13|
|Colombia vs. Greece||Saturday, June 14|
|Ivory Coast vs. Japan||Saturday, June 14|
|Uruguay vs. Costa Rica||Saturday, June 14|
|England vs. Italy||Saturday, June 14|
|Switzerland vs. Ecuador||Sunday, June 15|
|France vs. Honduras||Sunday, June 15|
|Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||Sunday, June 15|
|Iran vs. Nigeria||Monday, June 16|
|Germany vs. Portugal||Monday, June 16|
|United States vs. Ghana||Monday, June 16|
|Belgium vs. Algeria||Tuesday, June 17|
|Russia vs. South Korea||Tuesday, June 17|
Day 3 Preview
Saturday will be one of the biggest days of the tournament with four matches taking place. Arguably the biggest one will be between England and Italy, two of the most popular teams in the world.
Ian Darke of BT Sport provides some keys for England to come out victorious:
There will be plenty of talent on both ends of the pitch in this match, but Italy have shown the ability to be extremely disciplined, especially on defense. No matter what, this will likely be a low-scoring battle as each side also deals with the heat in the Manaus jungle.
Of course, this is just one of a number of exciting matches set to take place. Colombia will look to start their run against Greece, but finding ways to score without Radamel Falcao might end up being difficult.
On the other hand, Uruguay should have their top scorer in Luis Suarez as they attempt to get out to a good start against Costa Rica. With England and Italy likely locked in a tough battle, Uruguay would like to get the early lead in Group D against an inferior opponent.
In the final battle of the day, Ivory Coast will try to show why they are one of the top teams in Africa against a dynamic attack of Japan. This group is truly wide open, and any points in that match could help decide an eventual winner.
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