Rio de Janeiro (IANS): Defending champions Spain’s six-year domination ended as they were knocked out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup courtesy a 0-2 loss to Chile in Group B at the Maracana stadium here Wednesday.
It was an end of an era feeling, as Spain became the first reigning champions to lose their opening two matches in the subsequent World Cup and suffered the same humiliation as Italy, who as holders were knocked out of the group stage in the 2010 edition.
Chile’s win saw them qualify for the knockout phase along with the Netherlands from Group B. Both teams have two wins each.
Eduardo Vargas’ stabbed the ball in to give Chile the surprise lead in the 20th minute while Chales Aranguiz doubled Spain’s anguish in the 43rd minute after a poor effort by Spanish captain Iker Casillas in goal.
In the first half, Spain looked a shadow of the team that won the Euro 2008, 2012 and 2010 World Cup. They probably were still shell shocked from the 1-5 thrashing at the hands of the Netherlands in their opening game.
The tiki-taka was nowhere to be seen as Chile dominated the proceedings. Spain’s fabled passing looked very pedestrian as they gave the ball away too easily.
Vargas made them pay after some brilliant attacking play by Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez.
Chile looked the team more likely to score again and they did just that after a Sanchez free-kick was palmed away by Casillas straight into the path of Aranguiz, who made no mistake just before the halftime.
In the second half, Spanish manager Vicente del Bosque brought on highly rated Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke in place of Xabi Alonso and the move seem to work for his team.
Spain started showing signs of revival and played much more confidently. They looked more threatening and the Chilean defence finally came under pressure.
Sergio Busquets had Spain’s best chance as the ball fell to the Barcelona man following acrobatics from Diego Costa but Busquets scuffed the ball wide when it looked easier to score.
No wonder the midfielder is yet to score after making 86 appearances for his country.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres came on for Costa but it made no difference as Spain failed to find a breakthrough.
Such has been the dismal performance of the champions that they have scored just one goal and conceded seven.
Chile, meanwhile, will battle it out with the Dutch Monday for the top spot in Group B.