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Spain's World Cup reign ended by 2-0 loss to Chile



By GRAHAM DUNBAR

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Defending champion Spain, the dominant global football power for the past six years, was eliminated from World Cup contention Wednesday with a 2-0 loss to Chile.

Spain's famed passing game failed against a high-tempo, tenacious Chile team, its era ending in the storied Maracana Stadium filled mostly with Chilean supporters.

Eduardo Vargas tricked goalkeeper Iker Casillas into diving the wrong way, then shot into an unguarded goal in the 20th minute. Charles Aranguiz scored in the 43rd when the ball landed at his feet after Casillas punched out a free kick.

Spain's second loss, after a 5-1 rout by the Netherlands, ended any hope of advancing. Chile and the Netherlands will both advance, regardless of who wins the game between them.

Spain won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012, in addition to the 2010 World Cup.

Spain came to Brazil with a very similar - but older - team than the one that won those titles. They added Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, but he failed to score a goal.

Their "tiki-taka" style of play - keeping the ball for long stretches with short passes, and only shooting when you had a clear opening - had not been working as well in recent years. Brazil defeated Spain 3-0 in last summer's Confederations Cup, a warm-up for the World Cup.

Spain became the third straight European defending World Cup champion to flop in the group stage. France in 2002 and Italy four years ago also failed to advance, or even win a match.

Badly needing a win, del Bosque stayed loyal to captain Casillas despite the veteran goalkeeper's errors against the Dutch.

Two pillars of Spain's title runs, Barcelona pair Xavi Hernandez and Gerard Pique with a combined 194 appearances, were left out.

Xabi Alonso probably should have joined them. His agonizing first half typified Spain's problems and his errors led to both goals.

And Alonso's selection left a younger version of his former self, Atletico Madrid's Koke, on the bench until the logical change was made at half time.

Alonso gave away the ball to Alexis Sanchez to start a move down Chile's right wing by Arturo Vidal and Aranguiz, leading to Vargas' score. Alonso trailed behind the play and put his hands to his head.

Alonso was booked in the 40th before conceding another foul, on Sanchez, three minutes later 22 yards (meters) out.

When Casillas punched away Sanchez's curling free-kick, Aranguiz trapped the ball then flicked a rising shot spinning away from the goalkeeper's reach.

Alonso had Spain's best early chance, a 15th-minute shot smothered by Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Often wayward in its passing, Spain missed two clear chances early in the second half.

Costa was slow on Andres Iniesta's threaded pass in the 49th, and Sergio Busquets was guilty of a glaring miss, volleying wide from five meters in the 53rd.

After Bravo pushed away shots by substitute Santi Cazorla and Iniesta, Chile's win was sealed.

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lgvxl42 June 18 2014 at 6:17 PM

...........I get a kick out of the posts, regarding soccer. Just as the three previous posts, here, little understanding is exhibited toward any sport other than that which they've been weaned at. Fortunately, most of the world has both the intelligence & graciousness to accept our sports of football & baseball.

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4 replies
Paul June 18 2014 at 6:14 PM

I was watching the game and it is very interesting. This is the real Football the British Football where players kick the ball most of the time, compared to the American football where they either throw the ball or carry it in their hands.That should be called throwing or carrying ball but not football.
It is called WORLD CUP meaning many different countries from every Continents are participating in it. Unlike the baseball World Series with only American teams and I think two Canadians

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6 replies
jimmy.zucco June 18 2014 at 6:08 PM

WOW !! A 2-0 SCORING FEST !!! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ !!!!.....................

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5 replies
Ingrid Rose June 18 2014 at 6:52 PM

We all have sports that we like. If you don't like soccer, change channels. Easy. As a segue, my 6 year old granddaughter is playing indoor soccer (in Texas) this summer. No boundaries except the walls. Two 20 minute halves, 18minute half time. Goal nets at each end. Great because it's climate controlled and great action between teams. Loved it when I saw it a few weeks ago. Ball not landing on heads, staying on floor, and it was like a soccer hockey game. Those girls MOVED! Love to see more kids soccer move this way. It actually had more action going than I've seen in the normal kids soccer games and not as dangerous for head injuries.

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2 replies
goodgrief61945 Ingrid Rose June 18 2014 at 7:25 PM

My daughter played both indoor and out, for thirteen years. Her all freshmen team made it to the state finals in 2006 in Ohio. It's much more interesting to watch if you've had a son or daughter who's played. Takes more stamina and skill than almost any sport

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xoboem Ingrid Rose June 18 2014 at 8:01 PM

We call it Futsal here in California. My daughter's team plays it in the winter off-season and I love it too.

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dal June 18 2014 at 6:08 PM

Let me state..... oh Who cares it's kickball.

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1 reply
db1219 dal June 18 2014 at 8:17 PM

I'll tell you what to do----go back to watching NASCAR. Watch all of those cars being driven around in circles, again and again, never see the actual drivers, have this "sport" last for three or four hours in one day and then call soccer boring. Okay?

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2 replies
ease717 db1219 June 18 2014 at 10:30 PM

I totally agree. If you have ever watched soccer you know it is not boring! It is very popular with our children too.

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BARRY AND KATHY db1219 June 19 2014 at 1:48 PM

I just don't get why anyone would watch Nascar but it's extremely popular with the trailer and beer set.
I also can see the fun of soccer for the players but it's just not interesting enough to watch unless there is some scoring. I do appreciate the fact that people who are smaller and athletic can play with the bigger players unlike American football with some exceptions.
Football has just gotten way to brutal with neanderthals thinking part of the point is trying to hurt your apponent. The idiots in soccer aren't exempt from that either.
All in all, I think Basketball is better in every respect with speed and skill trumping simple brute strength.
It wouldn't hurt however if they had the officials in the NBA call everything by the rules as written.

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AtoZhere June 18 2014 at 6:17 PM

I had this feeling in my gut that Spain was going to lose. I really wanted them to try and get a goal. I am not sure what happened to Spain. They seemed not all there. Something was missing and they could not control the ball and make good passes. They are better than what they played today. They could have tired harder. How can you enter the world cup and not score one time. It is just a shame. World Cup has taken a new turn for 2014. My chest has never hurt so much until they lost.

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2 replies
lgvxl42 AtoZhere June 18 2014 at 6:26 PM

.........I think they needed "Memo" in net...............

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mygailbaby AtoZhere June 18 2014 at 6:26 PM

Awww! Take it easy. It does hurt when your favorite Team loses.

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WILLIAM DOYAL June 18 2014 at 6:06 PM

So boring that no one has even opened a conversation

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4 replies
I LOVE YOU JENNY June 18 2014 at 8:37 PM

No habla espanol????????

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1 reply
gnr2k6a1 I LOVE YOU JENNY June 18 2014 at 8:52 PM

Jenny is a *****

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jurgenjoshua June 18 2014 at 7:56 PM

Germany will prevail!!!!

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lov2elkhnt June 18 2014 at 9:09 PM

I see that Spain got a really bad George Carlin weather report, Chile today and when they go home it's gonna be really hot tomale.

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1 reply
jurgenjoshua lov2elkhnt June 18 2014 at 9:17 PM

LOL LOL.

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1 reply
Felix jurgenjoshua June 18 2014 at 11:53 PM

Spain lost.How are the mighty fallen. No matter what If Spain does not loose now one day they would loose. It is time for somebody else to take over. Spain dont feel bad you can be winning all the time. Murphy"s law No matter how thorough you are in playing something will go wrong. Your time is over Go home and chill OUT.

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