SAO PAULO – The “other” Group of Death was decided on Monday, with the Netherlands clinching the top spot in Group B of the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Chile to secure the prize of likely avoiding Brazil in the second round.
Substitutes Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay scored the only goals of a scrappy game. Fer delivered a 77th-minute header before Depay iced it in injury time to give the Dutch all three points in a game they only needed to draw to finish ahead of second-placed Chile.
Seen as one of the most brutal groups of the tournament, Group B quickly became a two-horse race due to defending World Cup champion Spain’s stunning collapse.
[Photos: Best of Netherlands vs. Chile in Group B]
Fer had come onto the field to replace Wesley Sneijder just two minutes before his goal and worked himself into an unmarked position before heading home Daryl Janmaat’s cross from close range.
Depay’s goal came courtesy of another trademark run from Arjen Robben, who charged down the left before finding Depay with a perfect low cross.
With 10 goals and nine points from their group matches, the Dutch can legitimately be seen as one of the most serious contenders for the tournament.
Chile was frustrated by its inability to turn possession into meaningful chances and Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez was infuriated to have two penalty appeals denied by referee Bakary Gassama.
The South American side will now face the winner of Group A – either Brazil, Mexico or Croatia.
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