In the 2010 World Cup, the tournament has already seen early eliminations by Italy and France, the 2006 finalists. Spain entered their match with Chile on Friday looking at a possible early exit as well. But goals by David Villa and Andres Iniesta were enough to get them a 2-1 victory and the win actually will send both teams to on to the round of 16.
Villa scored in the 24th minute on a shot from 45 yards out when goalkeeper Claudio Bravo came out of his area.
“David’s goal was very important because it occurred at a time when it was very uncomfortable for us,” Iniesta said. “After the goal, we felt more comfortable on the pitch.”
Iniesta then followed up with his goal in the 37th minute by beating Bravo with a right-footed shot from the edge of the area with an ejection by Marco Estrada after he collected his second yellow card.
“It was even until the ejection,” Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “We never thought we were better than Spain though we could compete with Spain on equal footing. But from the 40th minute, the match changed its complexion entirely.”
Chile found their backs against the wall after Spain’s two goals but did not back down. They continued to press and got within one as substitute Rodrigo Millar scored in the 47th to bring the score to 2-1.
Spain has won its group for the third straight World Cup with their six points in group play. They now move on and will play Portugal on Tuesday. Spain’s head coach Vicente del Bosque knows his team has played well so far, but realizes there is a lot at stake as they head into the round of 16.
“We have reacted a very difficult situation and have done well,” del Bosque said. “There’s a lot of pressure in Spain” for us to go further and “we want to do well.”
The teams from South America finished the Group Stage with a record of 10-1-4. Chile was the first team to lose in the 2010 World Cup from South America and the only not to win their group. All five teams have qualified for the second round. Chile’s only loss came to the Spaniards, but they beat Switzerland and Honduras. They only lost to Spain in the group standings on tiebreakers. Now they face Brazil, the winner from Group G, on Monday and Millar realizes the challenge that they face.
“I think that we deserved to advance because of the two previous matches,” said Millar. “We now have a difficult match against Brazil in the next round. We know we’re going to face one of the biggest teams in the world.”