Robin Van Persie

Match day two of the 2014 world cup 2014 has the second of the group A matches and both of the group B matches.

The group B match had Cameroon face Mexico with the winner having a better chance of qualifying into the knockout rounds. Both teams were given equal chances on paper as both had world class players. The main threat from the Cameroon side was their captain Samuel Etoo with Mexico relying heavily on the exploits of strike Dos Santos.

From the first whistle, Mexico had control of the game and should have had the lead when Dos Santos effort was judged to have been offside with replays showing that he timed his run to perfection. It seemed the worrying trend of referee and assistant mistakes from the first match would carry on and overshadow this game as well.

Mexico was denied another goal after Dos Santos headed the ball into the back of the next from a corner. The Mexican coach had every reason to be infuriated as he sought an explanation from the ref for his decision to disallow both goals. The teams went into the break level at nil nil.

The second half saw Cameroon show their attacking intent and we might have had an upset on our hands but Etoo fluffed the chance that fell to him. With a quick attack Mexico had the lead after Peralta hit the back of the net from a rebound. The Mexican would then hold on to the lead till the final whistle and now only have to beat Croatia to secure second place in group A.

I love how the Mexicans played their game with quick passing, wing play (especially on the right side of Cameroon’s defense) and great counter attacking moves. With such a high tempo game they will cause a lot of problems to teams but I don’t think they’ll make it to the quarter finals considering they might have to play the Netherlands or Spain.

The second game of the day was the first of the World cup big matches and was sure to produce a classic as it was a repeat of the 2010 final. Spain went into this game as favorites in everyone’s mind but the Netherlands would not give them any light of day as the sought to revenge the loss inflicted to them in the 2010 world cup.

Diego Costa was playing in him home country though now donning a different national color and this was met by jeers and boos from a section of the crowd. However he was the one who helped Spain get the lead after being judged to have been fouled in the box. Up stepped Alonso to slot in the penalty and he made no mistake of it. Spain had the lead.

David Silva had the chance to make it two nil as half time approached and after he failed to convert Robin van Persie drew the Dutch level with what could be the goal of the tournament. With a diving header he lobbed the ball over the out of line Casillas after an inch perfect cross into the box.

The teams went into the break at one one but it was still Spain’s game to lose.

The second half kicked off and will be remembered both for the Dutch’s clinical play in front of goal as well as the shambolic showing by the Spanish defense. Two goals from Arjen Robben, a goal from Van Persie and one from de Vrij say Netherlands go into the final whistle with a 5-1 lead. This was the worst showing from a Spanish team for as long as could be remembered but credit must be given to the Dutch team for sending a clear message to the other title contenders.

Will Spain make it past this damage inflicted on their psychology? That is what everyone is asking. In 2010 they lost their first match but still went on to win the world cup. But it is also noted that over the past world cups, the cup holders have not made it past the group stages. All in All, group B will be very interesting to watch.

The last match of the night, which came at 1am local time, had Chile facing the Aussies. Everyone expected the Chileans to win as they had been scoring for fun during qualifiers with Australia going into the tournament as the lowest ranked team.

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Valdivia gave the Chileans a two goal lead before a header from Tim Cahill gave the impression that the Aussies might launch a comeback. However, Chile sealed the victory with injury time goal from Beausejour. By that time my eyes had almost shut and I made it to bed before the ref could blow his whistle.

The games in match day two started the world cup in earnest and many eyes will be on group B where the Chileans have a chance to cause a major upset if they can get the points versus Spain and the Netherlands.