Classy Spain outshine Australia in Curitiba

2014 World Cup- Group B- Match 34
Spain 3 Villa 36’, Torres 69’, Mata 82’
Australia 0

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Australia’s 2014 World Cup campaign has come to an end this morning with a 3-0 defeat to outgoing World Champions Spain in Curitiba. Goals from soon to be Melbourne City striker David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata ensured the deposed champions leave on a high. For Australia the scoreboard reads 3 losses from 3 games, but that doesn’t begin to tell the story of a team on the rise.

Impressive start:
Australia started much the better side against a Spain side who seemed to be lacking confidence in the early stages, with the Socceroos applying a high defensive press strategy along with quick ball movement keeping the Spaniards on the run. Unfortunately for the Green and Gold it was to come to nothing as young striker Adam Taggart had a tough time upfront on his own against Ramos and Albiol with Australia registering just the one shot in the opening half.

Spain shows up:
After an impressive opening 20 minutes, Australia’s ball movement began to slow slightly and the Spanish quickly capitalised and swung the game in their favour by altering the tempo to suit star playmaker Andres Iniesta and the rest of their side. Early on they peppered McGowan on the right side, but it was down the left where their opening goal came from with Juanfran getting in behind Jason Davidson who picked out Villa in the six yard box and there was only ever going to be one outcome.

Second half:
Australia tried to get a toe-hold in the game in the second half with the substitutions of Halloran and Troisi, but between Spain playing well and poor turnovers from the Socceroos the task proved difficult. Spain went on to ice the game with two late goals, the first of which was scored by Torres after some neat lead-up for on the edge of the box. Juan Mata then rounded out the scoring in the last 10 minutes when he was left free in the box.

Brisbane factor:
Matt McKay got his second start of the tournament and lasted the 90 minutes, while Tommy Oar started again, however he was forced off midway through the second half. Ben Halloran came on at half time while Dario Vidosic remained an unused substitute.

Group B:
Today’s win for Spain sees them finish in third spot in Group B on 3 points, with Australia finishing bottom of the section without a point. Netherlands 2-0 win over Chile in Sao Paolo in the groups other game sees them finish top of the group, with the South Americans finishing in second place thanks to two second half goals from Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay. Netherlands and Chile will now be watching the games later today from Group A to see who they’ll play in the last 16- with Chile likely to end up playing hosts Brazil, while the Netherlands will in all likelihood draw the winner of the Mexico-Croatia match.

Final Group B standings:
Screenshot_2014-6-24 4.36.38

Australia’s World Cup:
Despite today’s disappointing result, and slightly flat performance there will still be a lot to take out of this tournament for Ange Postecoglou and his men as they now eye success in the continental showpiece here in Australia early next year. A young team will be far the better for the experience in the Brazil and will have learned a heck of a lot from some of the greatest players in the world. The much maligned defence still has a bit of work, but they showed signs of being able to form a formidable unit, while the middle and front thirds created plenty of chances in the opening two games.

Up next:
According to the FIFA website, Australia have a friendly in London lined up for September 8th against Saudi Arabia, while will likely be the next hit out and an important step in the preparations for the Asian Cup next year where they will play Kuwait, Oman and Korea Republic in the group stage. They also apparently have friendly against the U.A.E in early October according to the FIFA website.

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