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Chile vs Australia

World Cup Finals 2014 - Group Stage, Match 1
Chile vs Australia
at Arena Pantanal, Cuiab√°, Brazil on 2014-06-13T22:00:00
Score: 3-1 (2-1)
Scorers: Tim Cahill (35')
Official Info: FIFA Details
Previous Match: Australia vs Costa Rica
Next Match: Australia vs Netherlands

They've been called the "new Socceroos" and the "baby Socceroos" emphasising the regeneration we are going through. We came into the tournament as the lowest ranked team and little was expected of us. Postecoglou, although inexperienced at this level, is a good coach and appears to have prepared us well.

The first ten minutes looked okay. We were playing pretty well and looked to have settled in. Then Chile scored a very clever goal after good lead-up work. Not a lot we could have done about it I thought. Then disaster, Chile scored a soft goal less than two minutes later. Perhaps we were still in shock from the first, but we failed to track the Chilean players. You can't give good players that sort of room at this level. We were duly punished and a rout looked on the cards.

Credit to the Socceroos, they did not give up and started to make things work. It's possible Chile eased up a little after going 2-0 up, but it seemed mostly down to our hard work that we got back into the game. Incredibly, it was a Tim Cahill header that got us back into it. I say incredible because he's been doing it for so long and every opponent knows what to expect and he still keeps doing it. He joins an elite group of players who've scored at three World Cups. (Van Persie became the first Dutch player to achieve this earlier today.) 1-2 at half-time and Chile were being stretched.

The second half really felt like it the Socceroos were on top. We were pushing for a second goal and Chile looked rattled. Yes, they created a couple of chances, including one that forced a great clearance off the line, but we were asking the tougher questions. In the end we couldn't find the second goal and had to endure a cruel third goal in extra time to Chile's great relief.

We'll look back at our poor start as a key moment that cost us dearly. If Chile hadn't scored their second who knows what might have happened. In the end though, we finished where most pundits predicted, a couple of goals off the pace. I think we surprised a few people though with our performance and we weren't discredited.

The other match in our group saw the Netherlands take Spain apart. It was simply extraordinary. Spain may well rue a couple of missed chances, but the Netherlands could have had 2 or 3 more as well. Spain had conceded fewer goals in their past two major tournaments that they did in this match. Van Persie's first goal will be one of the goals of the tournament. It's only one game, but it's hard to imagine Spain recovering from this loss and defending their title. They may still get out of the group, but it's going to be very hard. They will need to beat Chile by a significant margin, something that seems unlikely at this point.