Spain eliminated from 2014 World Cup as Chile cruises to 2-0 victory

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If following the 5-1 drubbing by Holland there was any doubt that Spain’s tiki-taka had died, those questions were erased on Wednesday when Chile comprehensively defeated the 2010 World Cup champions, 2-0.

With a goal and an assist to his name Charles Aranzguiz led the Chileans on paper but it really was a team effort from La Roja that dismantled Spain. Things got started in the 15th minute when Diego Costa dribbled his way into the box only to mishit his shot low and wide of the far post. Andres Iniesta collected it and served it back in the mix where Xabi Alonso emerged unmarked only for his point-blank shot to be well saved by Claudio Bravo.

Five minutes later and the high press of Chile paid off. Xabi Alonso picked up Claudio Bravo’s clearance to midfield but his back-pass was intercepted by Alexis Sanchez, who quickly found Arturo Vidal on the one-two pass. Sanchez then brilliantly split the Spain defense to find Charles Aranzguiz, who cut a pass to the back post for Eduardo VargasIker Casillas challenged, Vargas pivoted to the right and dispatched low to score from 6 yards out. 1-0 Chile.

With Spain controlling possession things went back and forth for the next 20 minutes before Chile were awarded a free-kick 25 yards outside of Spain’s box. Sanchez stepped up and unleashed a swerving shot that was punched by Casillas into the middle of the box where Aranzguiz stood and hit a one-time, outside-of-the-foot stab that doubled Chile’s lead.

At halftime, Koke was introduced for Xabi Alonso and the Atletico Madrid immediately affected the match, intercepting a pass down the right side to find Iniesta who slipped a beautiful ball through Chile’s defense only for Diego Costa to once again flub his effort.

In the 52nd minute a Sergio Ramos free-kick was punched out by Bravo and the ball bounced to Costa to bicycle a cross to an unmarked Sergio Busquets, who missed an open goal from two yards out. Spain continued to press but had nothing to show for it and in the 64th minute Vincente del Bosque had seen enough of the out-of-sorts Diego Costa, who was taken off in favor of Fernando Torres.

Four minutes later and Chile nearly had a third as Vargas broke down the right side to find Eugenio Meno, who tore his shot wide of goal. A sliding Mauricio Isla found himself unmarked at the back bar but his shot skyrockted over the bar. Seven minutes later it was Sanchez dazzling through the Spanish box and making it all the way to the by-line but his pull-back was unable to find Gutierrez or Isla.

Despite sloppy play and looking a shell of their former selves, Spain continued to press forward with substitute Santi Cazorla, on for Pedro, ripping a left-footed effort inches wide from 20 yards out. With five minutes remaining a flurry of decent chances ensued for Del Bosque’s men including a Cazorla free-kick that Bravo did well to push wide and a Sergio Ramos flailing side-volley that flew over the bar. In the extra time it was Ramos again who found himself on the end of a good opportunity only for the Chilean defense to block wide.

Spain continued to poke and prod but the Chilean defense remained resilient and just like that, Spain were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup.

LINEUPS:

Spain – Casillas, Azpilicueta, Ramos, Javi Martínez, Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso (Koke 45′), Iniesta, Silva, Costa (Torres 64′), Pedro (Santi Cazorla 76′)

Chile -Bravo, Jara, Silva, Medel, Mena, Aránguiz (Felipe Gutierrez 64′), Díaz, Isla; Vargas (Valdivia ’85), Vidal, Sánchez

Goals: Vargas 20′; Aranzguiz 43′

 

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league