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World Cup recap: Brazil gets a shock; Spaniards fall to Dutch

POSTED June 13, 2014 11:40 p.m.

Chile, Brazil, Mexico and the Netherlands—much to Spain's surprise—were winners in their first matches of the 2014 World Cup and you can add three points into the mix for each team that won in rather convincing fashion.

A total of 15 goals were scored in the first four matches, with two 3-1 finishes, a one goal game, and the five goal shocker from the Dutch over Spain.

The biggest surprise after the first two days is perhaps the huge falter from Spain—or  maybe the closer than it appeared finish by Brazil who trounced Croatia in a very deceptive, 3-1 , fashion.

Another — delightful — surprise was the style of play from all eight squads. There were no draws and the level of play was one that many Americans have yet to see.

In Thursday’s opening game, the Brazilian national team found themselves struggling at times against a much stronger Croatian team that didn’t have leading scorer in Mario Mandzukic. The struggle was most apparent when Brazilian defender Marcelo accidentally gave Croatia a 1-0 lead with an own goal in the 11th minute.

With all the home field advantage pressure and support,  Brazil finally settled down after the 29th minute when Neymar finally put his team on the board as the Arena Corinthians stadium in Sao Paolo roared with approval.

Neymar’s penalty kick, which was a questionable call after a Fred flop inside the penalty area, gave the Brazilians the 2-1 lead. Finally, in stoppage time, Oscar put in the game finisher to give Brazil its first win.

In Friday’s morning game, Mexico’s 1-0 win over Cameroon came with two major missed opportunities, including a Giovani Dos Santos header that was called offside—but clearly wasn’t.

The defense was led by Rafael Marquez and Hector Moreno, who was hurt in the first half, held on as Cameroon created opportunities but Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa was there for the diving save late in the second half.

On a rainy afternoon the Dutch took the Spanish by storm, surprising both fans and soccer analysts alike.

After Robin Van Persie knocked in the first goal off his head for the Dutch to tie the game at 1-1 heading into the half, there was no hesitation in the Dutch’s play that they could control the pitch.

Van Persie and company continued their strikes in the second half and pressured the Spanish team. This was apparent when Arjen Robben knocked in the second goal in the 53rd minute after making something happen from nothing, pulling a move on defender Gerard Pique and beating keeper Iker Casillas after striking the opposite side.

In the 72nd, Van Persie found his second score of the game after beating Casillas in a chase for the ball and working his way around him for the strike. By this point the Dutch had built a 4-1 lead.

Robben got his second in the 80th as both Van Persie and Robben topped out with two goals each and Stefan De Vrij finished with one, notching a header in the 63rd.

In Friday’s afternoon contest, Chile got the win by two goals after topping Australia 3-1. Chile started the game off on fire after scoring two goals before the 15 minute mark. About 20 minutes later, Tim Cahill scored the goal for Australia to make it 2-1.

Despite a shaky second half, the Chile defense was able to hold off the tough play from Australia after pressing hard on offense, but by the 90th minute Chile’s third goal from substitute Jean Beausejour secured the win for the South American squad. 

Coming up: The United States will face Ghana at 3 p.m. Monday and Mexico and Brazil meet at noon on Tuesday.

 

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