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Chile end Spain's reign at WC

Friday, June 20, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, - Spain's six-year reign as the world's best team has ended after Chile sent them crashing out of the World Cup with a 2-0 win in Rio de Janeiro.

Spain had been seeking a fourth consecutive major title, but instead they became only the fifth defending champions after Italy in 1950 and 2010, Brazil in 1966 and France in 2002 - to go out in the World Cup's first round.

First-half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Charles Aranguiz took Chile into the last 16 and thus Spain became the first team along with Australia to be eliminated from the 2014 tournament.

"It is a sad day for all of us," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque.

"We were too timid in the first half and did not react sufficiently in the second. The first goal really buoyed them and they really got into our faces.

"We are sorry we didn't succeed, (but) now is too early to analyse where we go from here."

Del Bosque, architect of the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship triumphs, reacted to Spain's 5-1 drubbing by the Dutch in their opening game by dropping Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez, but his side looked every bit as ponderous.

Instead it was Jorge Sampaoli's effervescent Chile whose football caught the eye, with the intricate build-up to Vargas's opener an echo of the 'tiki-taka' football with which Spain once ruled the world.

"I am proud of the way we played to put out the world champions," said Sampaoli. "It was a great win over a great team."

Chile will now contest top spot in Group B against the Netherlands, who have also qualified for the last 16, but for Spain all that awaits is a dead rubber against Australia in Curitiba on Monday.

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