It wasn’t the dominating performance that the MLS Multiplex was hoping for, but a win is a win for Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain, who shut out Ange Postecoglou’s Australia 3-0 at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. With the win, Spain finish 1-0-2 (three points), good for third place in Group B in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, while Australia are 0-0-3 (zero points), good enough for the bottom of the group.
Questions will need to be answered for both teams as they turn their attention to the future. Meanwhile, the Netherlands dusted off Chile by the score of 2-0 to finish top of the Group at 3-0-0 (nine points). Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, for this FIFA World Cup match between Australia and Spain.
1. A quiet first 20 minutes
The match began rather quietly, with both teams sizing each other out. Australia were shooting themselves in the foot with the lack of creativity in their deliveries. Matthew Leckie had a shot from outside the box miss to the left in the fifth minute of play. Meanwhile, Spain’s Santiago Cazorla had a right-footed shot from the center of the box blocked in the 17th minute of play. That was before a Cazorla through ball for future Melbourne City/New York City FC trigger man David Villa was called back for offsides.
2. Spain ramp up the pressure, but David Villa still offsides
In the 21st minute, Andres Iniesta tried a through ball, but Villa was again whistled for offsides. Jordi Alba had a shot in the 23rd minute saved by Mat Ryan and in the 24th minute, Fernando Torres had a shot from outside of the box blocked. Villa was offsides yet again in the 26th minute after a through ball attempt by Sergio Ramos.
3. Villa finally figures it out to put Spain ahead
In the 36th minute, Iniesta found Villa one more time and this time he was onsides to flick on pass Ryan and give La Furia Roja a 1-0 lead. If Villa was onsides on a few more sequences, the dam would have broke in the first half, but that would be the case in the second half. Koke, one of the stars of the future for Spain, had a shot blocked in the 41st minute of play and that was the last big chance for both teams in the first half.
4. More offsides play from Spain
At halftime, Socceroos forward Ben Halloran came in for Adam Taggart. Villa tried to return the favor to Iniesta in the 54th minute but Iniesta was called offsides in the 54th minute of play. Fernando Torres was also offsides in the 56th minute on another Villa through ball. In the 57th minute, Juan Mata came in for Villa, who put in a decent shift to close out his World Cup but was offsides one too many times for Del Bosque’s liking. Australia’s Matt McKay had a right-footed shot from outside the box sail too high following a corner in the 59th minute.
5. Torres makes it 2-0
In the 61st minute, Australia midfielder James Troisi came in for Tommy Oar. Ramos was cautioned in the 62nd minute for a foul on Halloran. The polarizing Cesc Fabregas, who had a bit of a row with Del Bosque prior to the contest, came in for Cazorla in the 68th minute of play. Iniesta found Torres in the 69th minute to make it 2-0 Spain. The goal was Torres’s first World Cup goal since Germany 2006.
6. Juan Mata seals the deal for Spain
Mark Bresciano came in for Oliver Bozanic in the 72nd minute in what will most likely be his final World Cup game in his career. Troisi had a shot from outside the box sail too high in the 72nd minute of play. One minute later, Juanfran had a through ball for Fabregas whistled back for offsides. Fabregas, meanwhile, found the aformentioned Mata in the 82nd minute to make it 3-0 Spain and ice the match for the designated visitors.
David Silva came in for Xabi Alonso in the 83rd minute of play. Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic had a shot miss high and wide right following a corner in the 87th minute and soon afterwards, he was booked. Silva looked to make it 4-0 but he missed to the left. Mata was looking for a brace as well in the first minute of second half stoppage time but it was blocked. Mile Jedinak’s day and World Cup campaign for Australia was summed up in the second minute of stoppage time, when he earned an unnecessary yellow. Ramos had one more chance on goal in the third minute of stoppage time but it missed to the right, the epitome of a sorry outing for both teams at this tournament.
Australia on left, Spain on right
|0||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|79 %||Passing Accuracy||86 %|
|42.5 %||Possession||57.5 %|
Australia Player Ratings
Matthew Ryan 1, Alex Wilkinson 3, Jason Davidson 3, Matthew Spiranovic 3.5, Ryan McGowan 3, Mathew Leckie 4, Matt McKaw 4, Mile Jedinak 2.5, Oliver Bozanic 2, Tommy Oar 3, Adam Taggart 2, Ben Halloran 2, James Troisi NR, Mark Bresciano NR
Spain Player Ratings
Pepe Reina 6, Jordi Alba 6, Juanfran 8, Raul Albiol 6, Sergio Ramos 6.5, Andres Iniesta 9, Koke 7, Xabi Alonso 7, David Villa 10, Fernando Torres 8, Santiago Cazorla 7, Juan Mata 5, Cesc Fabregas 7, David Silva NR