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World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 7 with Robin Van Persie, Perisic, Gary Medel

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2017

World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 7 with Robin Van Persie, Perisic, Gary Medel

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Day seven of the 2014 FIFA World Cup brought the first confirmed eliminations from the tournament, as well as the first guaranteed passages to the knockouts.

    Netherlands' win over Australia, coupled with Chile's victory over Spain, saw the two victorious sides progress ahead of the final round of matches, with the two losers exiting—Spain being the first reigning winners to lose each of their first two games. 

    Later on, we saw Croatia beat Cameroon in Group A.

    Here is the XI of day seven, lining up this time in a 3-4-3.

GK: Claudio Bravo, CHI

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was exceptional against Spain, just one of several for Chile who performed to that level.

    He only made a handful of fairly routine saves, but it was his preventative work which was more impressive.

    Bravo took the ball in the air cleanly and dominantly, worked his area well to deny any space for runs in behind the defence and generally kept his team looking strong throughout.

DC: Francisco Silva, CHI

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    Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

    Chile's defensive dominance means it's no surprise to see another name or two join in our team.

    Francisco Silva was strong and brave, quick to challenge and good on the cover when he needed to be.

    He dropped into the channels at times to close out spaces, passed well into midfield and kept things simple when necessary.

DC: Gary Medel, CHI

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    Christophe Ena/Associated Press

    The second of three centre-backs that Chile fielded again, Gary Medel was phenomenal.

    Many thought that Diego Costa against three relatively diminutive central defenders was where Spain could get some success—but it wasn't that way at all.

    Medel dominated the striker completely, on the ground and in the air. He was aggressive, stepped out of his line well, was calm in possession and held the defensive line together with gusto, a great all-round performance at the back.

DC: Dejan Lovren, CRO

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    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Croatia defender Dejan Lovren was impressive in the first half in keeping Cameroon at bay, denying them a number of clear chances in the penalty area when the African side were on top and looking good to create more scoring opportunities.

    He had a relatively easy time of things after the break, but still, he made five clearances and blocked two shots during the 90 minutes—and didn't misplace a single pass.

    A 100 percent pass completion rate for Lovren, including nine long balls.

RM: Mathew Leckie, AUS

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Mathew Leckie started on the right before switching to the left side of Australia's attack and was a big performer for them.

    His pace and willingness to continually run with the ball was a feature of their game, taking the match to Netherlands whenever possible and looking to deliver from out wide.

    Later in the game, he looked to cut in from the flank, but his best efforts arguably came when he went down the line.

CM: Nigel De Jong, NED

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Nigel de Jong was a real enforcer in the second half for Netherlands, making sure his side had plenty of fight once they had finally re-taken the lead in the game.

    He made a number of big tackles in the middle and harassed Australia's midfield men, closing out the spaces and trying to keep his team in control.

    It wasn't pretty or even particularly memorable with all the excitement in each goalmouth, but it was important and effective for the Oranje to see the result out.

CM: Charles Aranguiz, CHI

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Charles Aranguiz was superb in Chile's midfield, a non-stop worker throughout his hour or so on the field, which only injury brought to an early end.

    The ground he covered in pressing and denying space to Spain's technical players in the centre was incredible, but he still made sure he got forward to support at every opportunity when Chile broke in numbers.

    His goal was well-taken, but it was more his run to get in that position which merited attention.

LM: Ivan Perisic, CRO

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Croatia's Ivan Perisic had a very lively game against Cameroon, scoring once and claiming an assist, starting on the right side before very quickly shifting to the left.

    His great pace earned him his goal, outstripping the defender and outfoxing the goalkeeper at his near post, while his assist for the opening goal of the game was timing and vision at its finest with his first-time pass to Ivica Olic.

    A constant problem for Cameroon to deal with after the break, he's been a star in his two performances so far.

FW: Alexis Sanchez, CHI

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Chile forward Alexis Sanchez didn't score against Spain, but he put in an enormous shift nonetheless as he helped his side to victory.

    Sanchez's pace always troubled Spain down the channels, while he also dropped deep to pick up possession, evading challenges and opening up the game from time to time.

    Once more, he was a key player in his nation's performance and he looks determined to carry them a distance in these finals.

FW: Mario Mandzukic, CRO

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic returned from suspension to find the net twice against Cameroon.

    His movement and link-up play was good throughout the game, enough to make his place in the team warranted even without the goals, but his thumping header shows what he can bring far more than the likes of Nikica Jelavic in a regular goalscoring threat.

    An easy tap-in for his second came as a result of anticipating and following in an initial shot, where the defence merely stood and watched.

FW: Robin Van Persie, NED

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Robin van Persie scored another goal to take his tally to three in two games for the 2014 World Cup.

    His thunderous strike from close range left Australia keeper Mathew Ryan with no chance at all, pulling Netherlands level at 2-2 before they went on to win the game.

    A booking keeps him out of the final game of the group stage, but he'll return to aid his side in the knock-outs and looks a man determined to prove himself on the biggest stage.

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