RIO DE JANEIRO — Defending champion Spain, the dominant global football power for the past six years, was eliminated from World Cup contention Wednesday with a 2-0 loss to Chile.
Spain’s famed passing game failed against a high-tempo, tenacious Chile team, its era ending in the storied Maracana Stadium filled mostly with noisy Chilean supporters.
Eduardo Vargas tricked goalkeeper Iker Casillas into diving the wrong way, then shot into an unguarded goal in the 20th minute. Charles Aranguiz scored in the 43rd when the ball landed at his feet after Casillas punched out a free kick.
“I only ask fans for forgiveness, we did everything we could,” said Casillas, who lifted the World Cup trophy four years ago.
Spain’s second loss, after a 5-1 rout by the Netherlands, ended any hope of advancing.
Netherlands 3, Australia 2: at Porto Alegre, Brazil, Memphis Depay scored a late clincher as Netherlands withstood Australia’s unsettling challenge in a comeback win to move to the verge of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the World Cup.
Though is was closer than expected, Netherlands got the victory to put Australia almost surely out of contention after two straight defeats.
Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie, who each scored twice against Spain, added to their tallies before and after Australia’s goals. Substitute Depay scored in the winner in the 68th.
Croatia 4, Cameroon 0: At Manaus, Brazil, Mario Mandzukic scored two goals to keep Croatia in the mix at the World Cup with a win over 10-man Cameroon, which will be going home after the group stage.
Mandzukic, who returned to the team at the Arena da Amazonia after sitting out the opening loss to Brazil through suspension, headed in a corner from Danijel Pranjic in the 61st minute and then knocked in a rebound in the 73rd of the Group A game.
Ivan Perisic also scored one goal and made another for Ivica Olic.
Cameroon was reduced to 10 men after midfielder Alex Song was given a red card for elbowing Mandzukic in the back in an off-the-ball incident in the 40th minute.