Netherlands vs. Chile: World Cup Group B Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Netherlands vs. Chile: World Cup Group B Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Netherlands defeated Chile 2-0 in Sao Paulo on Monday to make it three wins from as many games and secure top spot in World Cup Group B.

The Netherlands went into the game knowing a point would be enough to secure top spot, and they defended accordingly.

But they also possessed an attacking threat. Substitutes Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay netted on 77 and 90 minutes, respectively, to secure the win.

With top spot in Group B at stake, it was an understandably cagey opening to the contest in Sao Paulo.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Chile enjoyed plenty of early possession and fashioned a couple of openings with flighted balls into the box, but both Eduardo Vargas and Felipe Gutierrez failed to direct their headers on target.

With Robin van Persie sidelined due to suspension, Arjen Robben was Netherlands' key attacking outlet.

He gave two glimpses of his outstanding ability in the first half. On 35 minutes, he whipped in a delicious free-kick that caused panic in the Chile box. Stefan de Vrij showed great desire to meet the ball but was just unable to rise high enough to direct it on target.

On 40 minutes, it was Robben's dynamism that was on show. Picking the ball up on the halfway line, the Bayern Munich winger powered forward at pace, sucking in defenders and then simply skipping past them. The only thing lacking was a crisp finish, as he dragged his shot narrowly wide of the far post.

Around that time, Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail raised an intriguing question:

With a draw favouring the Dutch in the battle for top spot, Chile were in greater need of the win.

The pattern of play reflected this, with Chile keen to move the ball forward at pace. However, chances proved hard to come by as the Dutch defended with rugged authority.

Netherlands were content to play on the break, and they advanced at pace on 67 minutes, with Robben forcing a save out of Claudio Bravo.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal threw on Depay and Fer, and they proved to be the key men in the match-winning goal.

Depay forced Bravo to tip over his 20-yard drive, and on the resulting corner, a ball was whipped into the box where Fer rose unmarked to nod home.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The Dutch's defensive resolve was enough to keep Chile at bay in the final 10 minutes, and they capped the win with a goal in injury time through Depay.

It was Robben's blinding pace that set up the goal, as he dashed to the byline and pulled the ball back for Depay to apply the finish, securing top spot in the process.

They now await the second-placed side in Group A, which is likely to be Mexico or Croatia. 

If results from Group A play out as expected, Chile will face host nation Brazil in the last 16.

 

Grades

Netherlands Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Jasper Cillessen 6 6
Daryl Janmaat 6 6
Ron Vlaar 7.5 7
Stefan de Vrij 6 6.5
Daley Blind 6.5 6.5
Nigel de Jong 7 7
Georginio Wijnaldum 5 6
Dirk Kuyt 5 5.5
Wesley Sneijder 5 5
Jeremain Lens 6.5 6
Arjen Robben 7 7
Substitutes
Memphis Depay 8
Leroy Fer 7
Terence Kongolo 6

B/R

Chile Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Claudio Bravo 6 6.5
Mauricio Isla 6 6
Eugenio Mena 7.5 7
Gonzalo Jara 5.5 6
Gary Medel 6 6
Francisco Silva 6 6
Charles Aranguiz 5.5 6
Marcelo Diaz 7 6.5
Felipe Gutierrez 6 -
Alexis Sanchez 7 6.5
Eduardo Vargas 7 6
Substitutes
Jean Beausejour 6
Jorge Valdivia 6
Mauricio Pinilla 6

B/R

Post-Match Reaction

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal (via FIFA.com):

It was a match of the highest quality. We limited Chile to a handful of opportunities, we neutralised them extremely effectively - and particularly in the second half we created more chances. We did have to change our style today - and I will always pick a system and a strategy that will help us win. However, we're not perfect - in possession we still need to improve, but I do think we're very good without the ball. As for my substitutions, they are down knowledge of the players and the opposition, but they're impact is down to luck!

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli (via FIFA.com):

We kept going and fighting for 90 minutes, but ultimately we didn't get the result. We wanted to win this game and we gave our all. We felt that Netherlands only wanted to defend. We expected Netherlands to go on the counter-attack with regularity and for such a long time we limited them to long shots. I felt that our intensity and commitment was outstanding. Our players should have their heads held high as we've played well in the three games so far and we're now through to the Round of 16.

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