Friday, at Arena Pantanal, Cuiaba, Brazil, the Chilean National Football Team beat its counterpart from Australia 3-1 in the second game of World Cup Group B.
The Chileans took the initiative and controlled possession and all scoring opportunities in the first quarter hour building a 2-0 lead courtesy of an opportunistic strike by Alexis Sanchez at the 12th minute.
Sanchez then turned provider as he set up Jorge Valdivia two minutes later for a well-placed shot in the upper right corner of Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan’s goal.
But then, inexplicably, particularly knowing the score of the Spain-Netherlands game, the Chileans took their foot off the pedal and allowed the Aussies to get back in the game. Tim Cahill obliged with a 35th minute textbook header over the short Chilean defender, Gary Medel, for a 2-1 halftime score.
The refereeing was a bit more even handed and seemed not to be overly lenient or intrusive the first half and the game came to an end without much stoppage time and with but a single yellow card .
The second half opened without much change in the rhythm of play with the Chileans controlling possession and the Australians trying the long-ball counter once and the controlled short pass counter the next. But with the Aussies needing the draw and Chile willing to accept the single goal victory the game seemed eerily in a state of suspension.
Both sides traded opportunities and each brought in their full complement of substitutes. But it was the Chileans who were late coming to realize how badly they needed the extra goal in their group situation. When they did wake up they attacked more intently but by then the Australians had the measure of them and it was not as easy to make chances. Similarly, the Chileans could not find the right gear as at times they would work the ball into a great scoring chance only to overpass or misfire.
Finally, at the 93rd minute, the final substitute to come in, the one with the freshest legs, midfielder Jean Beausejeor followed up on a ricochet and placed the ball into the lower right corner of the goal for the final score line--Chile 3, Australia 1. The added goal was golden in terms of goal differential and it will be up to Chile and Spain to determine who moves on if Holland does not trip up.