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′

 

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”

Spurs’ Alderweireld won’t return until February

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Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.

That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.

Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.

Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.

Benitez: If we can’t add in January, work gets harder

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Newcastle United has swung from the top half of the table to the fringes of the drop zone, something that hasn’t caught Rafa Benitez off guard.

The veteran manager has not lost sight of his August transfer window shortcomings. He hasn’t dwelled on it in the media, but Benitez is also very cognizant that his team has lacked depth at striker, out wide, and at left back.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

To boot, most of his additions — Mikel Merino, Christian Atsu, Javi Manquillo — haven’t been loaded with experience.

“Some games we are the youngest team in the Premier League. We have to learn quickly. This team is working very hard. Little things we have to improve and we will be stronger.”

“We know our job. Everyone has an opinion. It’s not rocket science – we need players in some positions. If we can, fine, if not, we will have to work harder.”

Newcastle isn’t far away, but it’s woefully short at left back (to the point where it’s best options have been displaced center back Chancel Mbemba and right back Manquillo), and Benitez doesn’t trust Aleksandar Mitrovic up top with Joselu not firing (though Championship star scorer Dwight Gayle may be coming around).

Additions are still needed, and perhaps Benitez is marginally better off that Newcastle didn’t continue overachieving as it did early days.

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Manchester City

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  • Man City leads all-time 22W-4D-7L
  • Swans winless in 11 vs. Man City
  • Last Swans win: 2012 at home

Manchester City can set the Premier League record for consecutive wins in a single season when it visits Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday (Watch live at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Each side has scored in the last eight meetings between the two in all competitions, which is about the only bit of good news for Paul Clement‘s side outside of their weekend win over West Brom. Man City has dominated the series in recent memory, and really all time.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

And some good news for Man City, too: There won’t be any problem with what they do in their own changing room.

“Like any club, Manchester City are able to play music in their dressing room,” a Swansea City spokesman said following the fracas at the Manchester Derby.

Wilfried Bony will be fired up to face his former club, and he’s coming off a big goal to sink West Brom. He’s going to have a lot in the tank. From the Manchester Evening News:

“Every game I look forward to but it is special to play against your old team. Injuries had an impact on my time at City. When you come from a club where you play every game and then you are playing maybe once a month or two games a month it is completely different.”

Vincent Kompany is out for Man City.

What they’re saying

Swansea City back Alfie Mawson on slowing Man City“I’m very fortunate to test myself against the highest calibre of footballer there is. City are flying this season. They’ve got one of the best managers in the world. We’ve got to find a way to combat them. Every team is finding it hard and I’m sure it’s going to be a very tough game because of the quality and depth they have. We’ve got to be switched on for the entire game, as they’ll punish one lapse in concentration.”

Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne on the 11-point table lead“Lots of teams lost points this weekend so it is a big one for us [the win] just to put more pressure on the rest. We have to enjoy it and then focus again for Wednesday. It is a big gap. If we slip up we are still in the lead. We can’t be complacent. We need to do what we have all year. I prefer to be 11 points ahead than 11 points behind that’s for sure.”

Prediction

The run continues, as Paul Clement prioritizes Saturday’s trip to Everton and City cruises to a 3-0 win.