World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 2

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2014

World Cup 2014: Winners and Losers from Day 2

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    Day 2 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup featured three matches, including a repeat of the 2010 final.

    Mexico beat Cameroon in the first match. Spain took the lead in the middle game—before Netherlands roared back to shock them with a blowout win.

    In Friday's finale, Chile fought off Australia, completing the first round of games in Groups A and B. Here are all the biggest winners and losers from Day 2 of the World Cup.

Losers: Officials, Again

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    Come on. After the Brazil penalty fiasco, the last thing we wanted to see in the World Cup's second game was further officiating errors—but that's what we got.

    Two wrongly disallowed goals in the first 45 minutes for Mexico left Giovani dos Santos (who scored both) in particular extremely irritated.

    Great call, though, to disallow Tim Cahill's would-be equaliser for Australia. 

Winners: Mexico's Forwards

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    Gio dos Santos was excellent and Oribe Peralta scored the winning goal—a great return from the Mexico centre-forward partnership.

    Playing in a true two up top, the movement and technique of both were key to Mexico's performance, as they worked extremely hard off the ball and tracked back defensively, too.

    The duo was heavily involved in the winning goal for Mexico; Peralta won the ball, dos Santos saw his shot saved, and Peralta followed up and finished coolly.

Losers: Cameroon

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    Someone get the engine running on Cameroon's plane home.

    The African side were woefulsluggish to get out of their defensive lines, no pressing in midfield, an isolated Samuel Eto'o in attack and no organisation at the back. Right-back Cedric Djeugoue was well out of his depth and subbed at the break, but more experienced team-mates such as Eyong Enoh weren't much better.

    This was a game Cameroon had to win. They're not going to beat Brazil, Croatia looked far better and now they've lost to Mexico. One game lost, but almost all hope is lost as well.

Winners: The Bookies

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    The World Cup is a big tournament for fun bets of all kind to be made—online betting, work-based sweepstakes, fantasy football teams and more besides.

    Who had Spain to score first in this game—and then still lose? Probably not many. What about six goals in the game? Netherlands to win, even?

    A lot of money might have been put on that game, but probably not an awful lot was won back by fans.

Losers: Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique

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    Spain's Gerard Pique had no idea how to defend against a two-man attack. He was lost with Netherlands' sporadic attacks, dropped far too deep at times behind his team-mates and never got close enough to Arjen Robben to stop the Dutch forward from using his pace to good effect.

    Iker Casillas meanwhile, failed to deal with the free kick for goal No. 3—regardless of him feeling he was fouled, he flapped pointlessly at the ball—made a right hash of his control for the fourth and looked entirely lost for the fifth.

    It could have been worse—Spain's defence had no shape, no leadership and no organisation by the end.

Winners: "Robben, Van Persie"

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    Louis van Gaal's decision to use Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie as a two-man forward line worked perfectly.

    They worked hard off the ball, showed tremendous movement and scored four goals between them.

    Netherlands as a whole were massive winners on the night, but these two embodied all that was excellent about their second-half performance in the 5-1 win over Spain.

Loser: Arturo Vidal

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    Having had knee surgery only a few weeks ago, some might say Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal was a winner just for making the squad and the opening game of the finals.

    However, he was clearly held back—whether by instruction or discomfort is difficult to know—and we didn't see anything like his true capabilities on the day.

    His reaction after being substituted on the hour said much, and Vidal will know he has work ahead to be able to impact the finals as he would like.

Winner: Jorge Valdivia

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    Jorge Valdivia plays a thoroughly entertaining tactical role whereby he starts from the centre-forward position but has full licence to roam, find spaces and pick up the ball before turning to play in the "wide" forwards, who inevitably race to take up his place in the centre.

    Valdivia moves around play, waiting for his team-mates to find him in space, never letting defenders mark him and looking to receive the ball, turn to face goal and pick his outlet.

    His finish on Chile's second goal was not half bad, either.

Winner: Claudio Bravo

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    Claudio Bravo had a good start to the game, taking high balls and making a good save, but a poor clearance eventually led to Australia's goal, which got them back in the match at 2-1.

    The Chile stopper redeemed himself in the second half with a great save from Mark Bresciano's volley, while also taking a number of high crosses very commandingly, relieving the pressure on his team as Tim Cahill continued to look menacing.

Loser: Spain

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    Quite aside from their 5-1 defeat, Spain are now three points behind Chile and Netherlands—and six goals behind them, too. Even a win there won't put Spain in the driver's seat to qualify simply because of the huge gap in the scoreline.

    Vicente del Bosque has huge work to do: Does he change personnel and risk upsetting a very experienced, trophy-laden, settled side? Does he trust to the barely capped members of his squad like Koke and David de Gea?

    They have to do something though, or the holders will struggle once more against the pace and movement that Chile showed at times in their own opening game.