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Jun 18, 2014

Five Aside: Spain first defending champions eliminated with a game left

Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas and Fernando Torres contributed to Spain's six-year reign.
Spain still have one match to play, but the country's World Cup hopes are over.

The Netherlands and Chile are the first two teams to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup, while Australia and Spain are the first two to be eliminated.

The 2-0 loss to Chile means that Spain becomes the first defending champion to be eliminated with one game left to play in the group stage, and that it will not be the first team to win consecutive World Cups since Brazil did in 1962.

The winner of the Chile-Netherlands game on Monday will win Group B.

Here are five notes from Wednesday's early games:

• SPAIN IS THE FIFTH defending World Cup champion to be eliminated in the group stage, making it three of the past four to meet that fate. The Spaniards are also the first defending champions to lose their first two games in the following tournament after raising the Jules Rimet trophy. They hadn't lost consecutive matches in a single World Cup since 1982. The only other World Cup champion to be eliminated after two games was Italy in 1950, which played in a group with only three teams.

• CHILE ENTERED THE MATCH with a 37 percent chance of winning compared to Spain's 25 percent chance, according to Soccer Power Index. La Roja advances to the knockout round for the fourth time overall and the first time in consecutive World Cups. Chile finished with 32 clearances, the most by any team that has beaten Spain at the World Cup since 1966. Spain, on the other hand, had 128 touches in the attacking third of the field. That's the second-most in a game by any team in this tournament (France had 141 against Algeria), but with no goals to show for it.

• GOALKEEPER IKER CASILLAS, who has been the backbone of what was beginning to look like a Spanish dynasty, has struggled in goal this tournament. Casillas has faced 14 shots on goal so far, half of which have resulted in goals. His seven goals allowed is the most by any keeper in this tournament after allowing just two in seven games along Spain's road to winning the 2010 tournament. Prior to today, Spain had not allowed multiple goals in back-to-back games in the same World Cup since 1950, the last time it was held in Brazil. That year, Spain allowed multiple goals in all three of its games. In fact, Spain hadn't allowed multiple goals in back-to-back games at any time since doing so in back-to-back friendlies against Italy (1-2) and Chile (3-2) in 2011.

• NETHERLANDS, which entered its match against Australia with a 74 percent chance of winning, according to Soccer Power Index, had to fight back from a 2-1 second-half deficit to earn three points. The 3-2 final score marks the first time the Dutch have scored three or more goals in consecutive World Cup games since 1974. Despite its incredible offensive display against Spain in the opener, the Netherlands was even more efficient against Australia. The Dutch put 14 shots on goal and completed 384 passes (77 percent) on Wednesday compared to 11 shots on goal and 318 passes completed (75 percent) against Spain.

• MEMPHIS DEPAY SCORED what would prove to be the game-winner for Netherlands, his first career international goal. The 20-year old is the youngest Dutch goal scorer in World Cup history and the youngest from any country since then-18-year-old Lionel Messi scored against Serbia in 2006. Depay's goal came from 36.8 yards out, easily the longest in the tournament (Claudio Marchisio's strike against England is the second-longest at 29.2 yards). Arjen Robben opened the scoring in the 20th minute of the game for his sixth career World Cup goal, which is tied for second-most in Netherlands history.

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