Spain crash out of World Cup
The undisputed kings of global football were beaten 2-0 by Chile to end their hopes of retaining the trophy.
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SAO PAULO - Holders Spain crashed humiliatingly out of the World Cup on Wednesday after a second shock defeat while 2010 runners-up the Netherlands continued their perfect start with another high-scoring win.
It's an outcome few would have predicted a week ago but conceding seven goals and scoring just one, Spain's dreams to retain the World Cup came to a sad halt.
They look like a shadow of a team that dominated the world since 2008.
The undisputed kings of global football in the last six years, Spain won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and their first World Cup in South Africa.
But their supremacy is no more and an ageing team needs to be rebuilt.
Thrashed 5-1 by the Dutch in their opening game, Spain's normally composed and incisive team again looked a spent force, allowing Chile to score twice in the first half then hold firm for a totally deserved, glorious win.
"It is difficult to explain," bemoaned Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who was at fault on both goals and is likely to be among an old guard jettisoned for fresh faces.
"We ask people's forgiveness. We are responsible but also the first ones to feel the pain."
Chile, who had not beaten Spain in 10 previous games, looked sharper and more aggressive from the start.
Eduardo Vargas turned Casillas and avoided lunging defender Sergio Ramos to score the first goal after 20 minutes, before Charles Aranguiz struck the second just before halftime, sending the red-clad hordes of South American fans delirious.
Seemingly perennial nearly-men the Netherlands, who have lost three World Cup finals including to Spain in 2010, continued their storming start to the tournament with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Australia.
In a fantastic end-to-end match in Porto Alegre, "Socceroos" veteran Tim Cahill smacked in a spectacular volley that should be a contender for goal of the World Cup.
With maximum points and eight goals scored, coach Louis van Gaal was one of the happiest men in Brazil.
The Netherlands, hoping to finally shed their unwanted tag of being the best country never to win the World Cup, and Chile have now both secured berths in the last 16.
They meet on Monday to decide the Group B winners.
CAMEROON CRASH OUT
Cameroon's torrid World Cup also ended on Wednesday when they were trounced 4-0 by Croatia in the Amazonian heat of Manaus.
Having lost captain Samuel Eto'o to injury, a miserable campaign for the 'Indomitable Lions' was compounded by a needless sending off for Alex Song after he hit Mario Mandzukic.
Croatia, no doubt motivated by a sense of injustice over a penalty awarded to Brazil in their opening defeat by the hosts, were ruthless, Mandzukic helping himself to a double.
Brazil and Mexico each have four points in Group A, and Croatia three, meaning a win for them against the Mexicans in Recife on Monday would take the European side into the last 16 for the first time since they reached the semi-finals in 1998.
For Thursday, there is an attractive lineup of matches.
First up, Colombia and Ivory Coast clash in Brasilia, both buoyed by opening day wins in Group C.
Colombia may prove to be South America's surprise package, thrashing Greece 3-0 in their first game in an attacking display that belied the absence of top striker Radamel Falcao.
Ivory Coast are looking like Africa's best hope after a promising 2-1 win over Japan inspired by veteran Didier Drogba who came off the bench when they were losing.
The second game of the day is a more desperate affair, with England and Uruguay smarting from opening defeats and hoping to justify their reputations with a first win in Group D.
Luis Suarez is fit and expected to be named in Uruguay's starting eleven tonight.
Roy Hodgon's men are staring down the barrel after losing to Italy in their opening round.
Japan play Greece in Thursday's final match.