Many of the spots are already secured for the knockout stage at the 2014 World Cup, but Monday's action would decide the rankings heading into the second round.
With countries like Spain and Netherlands taking to the pitch, all eyes were once again on Brazil for Day 12 of the tournament. Though Robin van Persie couldn't secure another goal to make his case for the Golden Boot, the Dutch player watched on—due to suspension—as his club notched a third win in the group stage.
As for Spain, the 2010 champions saved some face with a 3-0 win over Australia, but were already ousted earlier in the group phase. Neymar also comes into Monday looking to put his name at the top of the list as a Golden Boot contender.
Here's a look at the full list of scoring through Day 12 and the results from another exhilarating day in Brazil.
|Group||Team 1||Results/Time (ET)||Team 2|
|Robin van Persie||Netherlands||3|
|Clint Dempsey||United States||2|
|Bryan Ruiz||Costa Rica||1|
|Lee Keun-Ho||South Korea||1|
|Joel Campbell||Costa Rica||1|
|Oscar Duarte||Costa Rica||1|
|Marcos Urena||Costa Rica||1|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||1|
|Wilfried Bony||Ivory Coast||1|
|John Anthony Brooks||United States||1|
|Son Heung Min||South Korea||1|
|Koo Jacheol||South Korea||1|
|Jermaine Jones||United States||1|
|Fernando Luiz Roza||Brazil||1|
Day 12 Analysis
Both the Dutch and Chile already knew they would advance to the next round of play, but came into the contest looking to clinch the No. 1 spot in the group.
Netherlands seized that opportunity with a huge 2-0 win over Chile and will play the runners-up in Group A. FIFA provides a look at the final standings from Group B after the match:
While Van Persie wasn't on the pitch, teammate Arjen Robben was yet again fantastic for the Dutch. After scoring three goals for his country in the first two matches, Robben had his first assist on Monday following a beautiful pass to Memphis Depay, whose strike secured the victory.
Robben's performance was enough to win him the Man of the Match, per HT Sports:
The 30-year-old also mentioned his country's great play throughout the match, via Elko Born of Bleacher Report:
Arjen Robben on Dutch TV: 'We were right on the top, we fought as lions. The orange lions! We scored two fantastic goals.'— Elko Born (@Elko_B) June 23, 2014
Meanwhile, Spain was working to finally secure a victory after two horrid matches to start the group stage. They would earn a 3-0 win over Australia, but it was much too late for the 2010 champions.
Some of the top names on the team from years past like Fernando Torres and David Villa scored goals for their country in the convincing win. It was an emotional farewell for the former champion Villa, who played in his final match for the national team against the Socceroos.
ESPN FC gave a look at the striker on the bench for the last time:
Mexico and Brazil took to the pitch, both looking to secure the No. 1 seed to avoid playing the Dutch in the knockout stage.
Brazil were off to an outstanding start thanks to a Neymar goal in the 17th minute. Following a Joel Matip goal to knot the score up at 1-1, Neymar struck again to put Brazil ahead 2-1 heading into halftime.
Bleacher Report UK took a look at Neymar's goals all-time compared to some of soccer's other great players:
Oh, and all of those goals are in just one World Cup.
The party wouldn't stop for Brazil in their search for the No. 1 seed out of the group. Following Neymar's two strikes, Fred tallied yet another goal for his country that was followed by Fernando Luis Roza in the 84th minute to put Brazil up 4-1, which was the final score.
FIFA World Cup points out the historical significance of Fred's goal on Monday:
While Brazil were busy routing Cameroon, Mexico furiously attempted to catch up on goal differential.
El Tri recovered from a quiet first half thanks to a huge goal from Rafael Marquez in the 72nd minute to open up the scoring for both sides. Andres Guardado followed up the goal with a strike of his own in the 75th minute.
ESPN Stats & Info notes why Marquez's goal was special for the Mexican player:
Mexico would add another point off the foot Javier Hernandez, which was followed by Ivan Perisic goal that finally put Croatia on the board. After having hopes of advancing with a win over Mexico up until halftime in the match, the Croatians were crushed as Mexico moved forward.
It was a disappointing showing for Croatia, but a statement game for Mexico, as Dan Levy of Bleacher Report writes:
Croatia fell apart. And Mexico is a different team than 4 months ago. Incredible.— Dan Levy (@DanLevyThinks) June 23, 2014
The two matches mean that Mexico and the Netherlands will face off while Brazil and Chile are scheduled to play in the knockout stage. Despite the poor showing against the Dutch, Chile have a chance to upset one of the tournament favorites in Brazil.
As for Mexico, a victory against the Netherlands might signify the country is officially for real in the World Cup. Making it out of the group stage is one thing, getting past van Persie and Robben is a completely different accomplishment.
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