World Cup Daily Recap: Brazil tops Group A, Holland wins Group B, Mexico goes through

BRA, MEX advance out of Group A; NED, CHI get out of Group B

Piojo

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

The first day of the final round of the Group Stage did not disappoint, with several big-time results coming out of four big-time matches. 

Here's how it all shook out: 

Netherlands 2-0 Chile | Full Recap

The battle for the top spot in Group B didn’t quite live up to expectations, with Holland scoring a 77th minute goal to beat Chile 2-0 in a relatively drab affair in Sao Paulo.

Substitute midfielder Leroy Fer had Holland’s first goal, getting on the end of a Daryl Janmaat cross in the left side of the box and powerfully heading home just two minutes after he entered the match for Wesley Sneijder. Memphis Depay had the clincher in second half stoppage time, finishing off an Arjen Robben cross to put the punctuation mark on a counterattack and give the Oranje a 2-0 win.

The win moved the Netherlands to a perfect 3-0-0 in Group B action, giving them the Group title. Chile dropped to 2-1-0- with the loss and will finish in second-place in Group B. Holland will play its Round of 16 match on Sunday, taking on the Group B runner-up at 10 a.m. MT on ESPN. Chile will take on the Group A winner in the Round of 16 on Saturday at 10 a.m. MT on ABC.

Australia 0-3 Spain | Full Recap

Spain said goodbye to the 2014 World Cup in style on Monday, cruising to a 3-0 win over Australia in both sides’ final match at this year’s tournament.

Monday’s match will be remembered as the international send-off for Spain forward David Villa. Spain’s all-time leading scorer, Villa made his first appearance at this tournament on Monday, starting and scoring La Furia Roja’s opening goal in the 36th minute.

Fittingly for a player who long led the line for Spain’s famously stylish tiki-taka sides, Villa’s goal was lovely, with the New York City FC signing flicking home a Juanfran cross to put Spain up 1-0.

Spain added two more goals in the second half, with Fernando Torres making it 2-0 in the 69th minute and Juan Mata putting home a third in the 82nd.

The most memorable moment of the second half came when Villa was subbed off, with the 32-year-old striker breaking down on the bench after being removed.

Monday’s result means that Spain finishes the tournament in third place in Group B with a 1-2-0 record. Australia finished last in the group, ending their tournament with a 0-3-0 mark. 

Croatia 1-3 Mexico | Full Recap

What a final 15 minutes for Miguel Herrera and El Tri.

Needing a win or a tie to clinch a spot in the Knockout Stage, Mexico exploded for three goals in the final 18 minutes on Monday to down Croatia 3-1 in Recife. The result gave Mexico second place in Group A, propelling them to a Round of 16 date with the Netherlands at 10 a.m. MT on Sunday on ESPN.

Rafa Marquez opened the scoring for Mexico, rising above the Croatian defense to head home a Hector Herrera corner for his third career World Cup goal. Andres Guardado made it 2-0 just three minutes later, notching his first career World Cup goal in the process. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez removed the little remaining doubt in the 82nd minute, finishing off a Marquez pass to make it 3-0. Croatia pulled one back in the 87th minute through Ivan Perisic, but by then it was far too late and Mexico was already deep into full-on party mode.

The win prompted some wild celebrations by Mexico Coach Miguel Herrera, who I wish I was related to.

You stay golden, Piojo:

Cameroon 1-4 Brazil | Full Recap

The Neymar show continued on Monday, with the Brazilian starlet scoring a pair of first half goals to take his tournament tally to four and send Brazil to the Group A title with a 4-1 victory over Cameroon.

Neymar got things started off in the 17th minute, putting away a Luiz Gustavo cross to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage. Cameroon hung tough though, equalizing in the 26th minute through Joel Matip. It didn’t take Brazil long to take back the lead however, with Neymark scoring his second in the 34th minute to put his team up 2-1. Fred and Fernandinho added second half goals for Brazil, which will face off against Chile in the Round of 16 at 10 a.m. MT on Saturday on ABC. Make sure to tune in for that one – it should be a classic between the two South American sides.