Day 12 results for the 2014 World Cup involved Spain ending its tournament on as high of a note as possible for a defending champion eliminated before the knockout round.
The 2010 World Cup champs lost their first two group-stage matches by the combined score of 7-1. On Monday against Australia with nothing to play for but pride, they made their country proud.
Thirty-six minutes into the match, David Villa broke the 0-0 tie with his first goal of the tournament.
When the referee blew the final whistle, Spain had beaten Australia by the score of 3-0. Spain possessed the ball just slightly more than Australia—55 percent of the match—but Australia finished with zero shots on goal. Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina had the easiest outing of his life.
Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo didn't. Chile had already clinched a spot in the knockout round prior to facing the Netherlands on Day 12, but the top seed in Group B would've been nice. With Robin van Persie sitting out due to a yellow card ban, Bravo should've had an easier outing, but the Netherlands' substitutes stepped up.
Chile held Arjen Robben, who entered the day tied for the World Cup lead in scoring, without a goal. But Leroy Fer scored two minutes after he subbed in at the 75th minute to put Netherlands up 1-0. For the sake of style points, substitute Memphis Depay scored another goal in the 92nd minute, and his team won 2-0.
Chile never had a chance the way its offense played on Monday. Netherlands possessed the ball 64 percent of the match and attempted eight shots on goal compared to just one for Chile. Netherlands' knockout round opponent can't be pleased it played so effectively without Van Persie.
With Van Persie and Robben going goalless, Neymar took advantage and now leads the race for the Golden Boot.
After being shut out by Mexico, it only took 17 minutes for Brazil to score against Cameroon. Neymar scored the first goal to put Brazil ahead.
And after Cameroon's Joel Matip tied the match nine minutes later, Neymar scored again eight minutes after that to regain the lead—his fourth goal of the World Cup.
Brazil held the lead the rest of the way. However, it not only needed to hold its lead to earn the Group A top seed but also edge Mexico in goal differential. Fred and Fernandinho goals in the 49th and 84th minutes, respectively, did just that, though, and Brazil won 4-1 in its most sound performance of the tournament.
While Brazil attempted 11 shots on goal, Cameroon mustered just one. Mexico didn't have nearly as easy of an outing against Croatia.
For the first 71 minutes of their match, neither team could score. They could barely get respectable shots off. Mexico and Croatia combined for just seven shots on goal.
But in the final minutes, the defensive battle turned into a blowout. Mexico's Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez all scored within 11 minutes of each other to build a 3-0 lead. This pleased their head coach, Miguel Herrera.
Ivan Perisic scored 87 minutes in to put Croatia on the board, but it was way too little, way too late in a 3-1 defeat. As a result, Mexico will advance to the knockout round, and Croatia will watch.
Here are the updated standings and the remaining group-stage schedule following Day 12.
|4||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||-2||2||0||0||2||1||3|
|Tues., June 24||12 p.m.||Italy vs. Uruguay||ESPN|
|12 p.m.||Costa Rica vs. England||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||Japan vs. Colombia||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Greece vs. Ivory Coast||ESPN2|
|Wed., June 25||12 p.m.||Nigeria vs. Argentina||ESPN|
|12 p.m.||Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Iran||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||Honduras vs. Switzerland||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||Ecuador vs. France||ESPN|
|Thu., June 26||12 p.m.||United States vs. Germany||ESPN|
|12 p.m.||Portugal vs. Ghana||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||South Korea vs. Belgium||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Algeria vs. Russia||ESPN2|
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report.
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