Story of the game
Netherlands came out on top in the race to finish top of group B and most probably avoid Brazil in the first knockout stage. Netherlands response to Chile’s high energy attacking play was to sit back and not allow any space for the likes of Alexis Sánchez to expose. Louis van Gaal’s plan worked, and Chile were unable to properly threaten the Dutch in the first-half.
Their best chance in the first 45 came from a clever corner-kick which was played along the floor into the box, but the ball was lashed over the bar. It was then Netherland’s turn to threaten from a set-piece, a free-kick was whipped in with plenty of pace by Arjen Robben but de Vrij could not profit.
Robben was a danger all game and his next piece of action was to ride a challenge and then launch a counter-attack with a trade mark run deep from the right-hand side, but after side-stepping a man he dragged his shot just wide of the right post.
Robben tested Claudio Bravo after the interval after another run, but his shot was too close to the ‘keeper to cause real difficulty. The highly-rated Memphis Depay was the next to try his luck after clever footwork found him a yard of space but Bravo was equal to the effort. From the resultant corner however, Leroy Fer found himself unmarked in the box and sent the ball home. With Chile desperate for an equaliser Arjen Robben found himself with acres of space to run into, and sent the ball across the six-yard box for Depay to kill the game.
Netherlands have had a brilliant World Cup so far, and in this game they showed defensive capabilities to go with their natural attacking threat. They weren’t spoken of much as contenders going into the tournament, but they will now most likely get a favourable draw and should reach the quarter-finals, from which they will certainly have a chance of winning their first World Cup. Chile will have to play Brazil which should prove an exciting game between the two South American sides.
Jasper Cillessen – 6 – Rarely troubled thanks to the defence in front of him, but he could have given away a penalty when he crashed into Sánchez.
Daryl Janmaat – 8 – A fine defensive performance was added to a with a great cross that led to Netherland’s opener.
Ron Vlaar – 7 – Was extremely solid in defence and didn’t put a foot wrong with the tricky Chilean attackers.
Stefan de Vrij – 7 – Much like Vlaar, very solid and didn’t make any mistakes.
Daley Blind – 7 – Playing at centre-back instead of wing back, he defended well and moved the ball out of defence well.
Dirk Kuyt – 6 – In an unfamiliar position at wing-back, he had good work ethic but little quality on the ball.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6 – Given his first start he didn’t see much of the ball and had no real impact.
Nigel de Jong – 7 – A typical de Jong performance, he broke up play all day and imposed himself well.
Wesley Sneijder – 6 – Failed to assert himself on the match and might see his starting position under threat in the knockout-stage.
Arjen Robben – 8 – An absolute menace in attack and threatened all game, could have had a goal to add to his assist.
Jeremain Lens – 5 – Replaced van Persie in the startin eleven, but the difference in class was obvious. Overshadowed by Depay’s introduciton.
Memphis Depay (69’) – 7.5 – Came on to great effect and used his dribbling to cause problems. Scored the clincher and could be a contender for the staring line-up.
Leroy Fer (75’) – 7 – Scored the opener with a strong header after just two minutes on the field, and might have caused van Gaal a selection headache.
Claudio Bravo – 6 – Made a couple of decent saves and didn’t have a chance with either of the goals.
Mauricio Isla – 5 – Offered very little offensively and couldn’t cope with the speed of the Dutch.
Gonzalo Jara – 5 – Beaten every easily at times, he’s not a true centre-back and today it showed.
Gary Medel – 6 – Battled well given his stature but the Dutch attack proved too potent.
Francisco Silva – 5 – Had a difficult afternoon and picked up a yellow for his troubles.
Charles Aranguiz – 5 – Didn’t really make an impact a game as he has done previously.
Marcelo Diaz – 6 – A tidy performance from the midfielder and he moved the ball well.
Eugenio Mena – 6 – Aggressive in the first-half but the speed of Robben ensured he could not replicate it in the second.
Felipe Gutierrez – 5 – Did not assert himself or effect the game in any way.
Alexis Sánchez – 7 – Chile’s best player, he dribbled very well and created some chances but nothing clearpcut.
Eduardo Vargas – 6 – Had some good interplay with Sánchez but couldn’t shake free of the Netherlands defence.
Man of the match
Arjen Robben has been one of the best players at this tournament, and he showed it again in this game. His sheer speed proved exceptionally dangerous to the Chile defence, and he caused a lot of problems with his dribbling. He came very close to scoring and got the assist for the second goal with a strong run down the left.