Chile were not intimidated by the defending World Cup champions and were able to defeat Spain, 2-0, on Wednesday.
Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz scored the goals for the South American squad, but star players Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal came through with strong performances as well to keep their squad ahead of a very good opponent.
Chile were able to get on the scoresheet in the 19th minute on a great finish by Vargas, but it was outstanding team play that led up to the chance, as shown by SportsCenter:
Eduardo Vargas opened up the scoring for Chile with this nifty move past Iker Casillas. Chile leads, 2-0, at half. http://t.co/aKHYPafxsj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 18, 2014
LIV Sports points out that Sanchez had a big part in the play, including an impressive through ball to Aranguiz, who got the assist:
GOAL!! Vargas has scored! Excellent counter attack by #Chi with a major part played by Sanchez's pace and he rounds up the ball for Vargas.— LIV Sports (@LIVSportsIndia) June 18, 2014
As the match continued, it was clear that Chile were the more aggressive team and were much more ready to compete than Spain, according to Fox Soccer Trax:
35: Just not happening for Spain. Chile swarming, unafraid to foul; Spain on the other hand look very frustrated. 0-1— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) June 18, 2014
The underdogs were then able to double their lead at the end of the first half on a play that was once again started by Sanchez, as Tom Williams of AFP noted:
Spain's sky is falling in. Iker Casillas blocks Alexis Sanchez free-kick but Aranguiz is on hand to toe-poke home. Chile 2-0 up.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) June 18, 2014
A hard free-kick on target from outside the box forced goalkeeper Iker Casillas to punch it away instead of catching it, and Aranguiz was able to hit the rebound into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead.
As the match continued, Chile remained aggressive as Vidal's ability started to truly shine through. The World Cup Twitter account compared his play to Spain's star midfielder Andres Iniesta:
It is clear from the images that Vidal was able to play from box to box while doing a better job of recovering balls for his side. This ability to succeed on both ends of the pitch is something he considers to be his strength. When asked by FIFA about whether he enjoys having a role as both an attacker and defender, he responded:
Yes! When you start playing you dream of scoring lots of goals, but in football you sometimes have to change positions. Thank God I’m strong and full of running, and the fact that I’ve got a great physique means I can both defend and score goals.
He was able to do just that in a complete performance for Chile.
Former Swedish footballer Freddie Ljungberg was impressed by the effort from both Vidal and Sanchez:
Love watching Sanchez and Vidal play. Big stars working so hard for their team. U don't always c that. Love this game.— Freddie Ljungberg (@freddie) June 18, 2014
With the win, Chile have secured a spot in the knockout stage with both Spain and Australia officially being eliminated. Chile will now face the Netherlands in the next match with first place in the group on the line.
After defeating Spain is such dominant fashion, it is hard to imagine Chile being scared of any opponent for the rest of the tournament.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.