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World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 2 with Robben, Alexis Sanchez and Van Persie

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2014

World Cup 2014: Best XI of Day 2 with Robben, Alexis Sanchez and Van Persie

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    We only had one game to choose from for our first World Cup XI of the day after matchday No. 1—but Friday was a different matter, with six teams in action as the 2014 finals really cranked into gear.

    Netherlands pulled off a massive shock with a huge 5-1 win over Spain, so it's no surprise to see several of their players in our XI of the day.

    Elsewhere, Mexico defeated Cameroon by 1-0 and Chile held their nerve to defeat Australia 3-1, so let's see exactly who makes our team of the day!

GK: Guillermo Ochoa, MEX

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    None of the goalkeepers on the day exactly covered themselves in glory, with the day's opening game between Mexico and Cameroon probably producing the best couple of performances.

    Guillermo Ochoa pulled off a spectacular save late in the match which not only protected his own clean sheet, but also kept Mexico ahead.

    Ochoa is the only goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in the World Cup so far.

RB: Daryl Janmaat, NED

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Daryl Janmaat played as Netherlands' right wing-back and was impressive without being spectacular, working his flank well and supporting in attack after the break, having sat back in a midfield quartet in the first half.

    He was one of the outlets after quick turnovers for his team, linked well with his forwards down the channels and put in a number of good challenges to help win back the ball too.

CB: Stefan De Vrij, NED

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Stefan de Vrij probably faced his biggest game in his short professional career when he started against Spain in Netherlands' back three, but he came through the test relatively well.

    He was caught with Diego Costa's lateral movement at times, coupled with the through-passes from Andres Iniesta, but it was a demonstration of his character that even with that tough start and a harsh penalty call going against him, he came back to enjoy a good all-round performance.

    De Vrij scored Netherlands' third goal but was also dominant and impressive in the second half, keeping Spain at bay with a higher line and no runners in behind.

CB: Ron Vlaar, NED

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    Dutch centre-back Ron Vlaar might have thought he was in for a big test against Spain, but the Aston Villa man was up for the test. 

    He was solid in the air from the few longer or higher passes Spain made, organised his back line of three extremely well and put in a few telling interceptions.

    Vlaar was caught deep once in the first half, allowing David Silva a chance on goal, but other than that it was a faultless display by the centre-back.

LB: Miguel Layun, MEX

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Miguel Layun operated as Mexico's left-sided wing-back against Cameroon and, especially in the first half, was the Central American nation's best outlet.

    Pushed extremely high up the field, he kept two Cameroon players pressed back on his flank yet continually managed to get himself one-on-one, racing behind the defensive line and producing plenty of good crosses into the area.

    Later he helped out defensively, supported in midfield and was energetic throughout.

DM: Marcelo Diaz, CHI

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Marcelo Diaz is Chile's one midfield player who can put his foot into a challenge regularly, lay the ball off quickly and retain possession simply. On Friday, he had a quiet but effective game. 

    The No. 21 made the third-most passes of anybody on the pitch, 70, with a 93 percent success rate, per WhoScored.com.

    Late on, when Chile came under more pressure from Australia, Diaz helped hold things together for the South American side, keeping their opponents at bay centrally and forcing play wide.

RM: Alexis Sanchez, CHI

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Alexis Sanchez played from the right of Chile's attack but frequently looked to break infield, drop deep behind the other attackers and link play before moving into space again quickly.

    He scored the opening goal of the match, crashing one in at the near post, but was also a creative outlet for his side, sliding passes into the penalty area and looking to run beyond the Australia back line.

    Later in the game, he moved to a right-sided midfield role and looked to help on the counter-attack when possible.

LM: Daley Blind, NED

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    What a performance from left wing-back Daley Blind.

    His delivery from wide was not only accurate, but instrumental in the result, with his pass for Van Persie's equaliser inch-perfect and well-timed.

    Good in possession, he was untroubled down the flank by Spain's attack and made a superb recovering tackle to prevent Fernando Torres scoring what should have been an open goal tap-in.

AM: Jorge Valdivia, CHI

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Jorge Valdivia ran the show for Chile against Australia.

    Starting from a centre-forward position but consistently dropping deeper, he found pockets of space to receive the ball in, picked clever passes and always tried to be positive in possession.

    His goal was a perfect example of such—complete with a brilliant finish to make the most of the space afforded to him.

CF: Robin Van Persie, NED

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    For landing on his face alone, flat on the floor, after a lunging diving header to loop in an equalising goal, Robin van Persie would have made the team.

    Even so, the striker wasn't content with that and put in a great shift, chasing down defenders, coming short, dropping wider into channels and making runs beyond the defence—a complete forward's performance.

    A second goal after robbing Iker Casillas and a thunderous shot off the crossbar completed his display.

CF: Arjen Robben, NED

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    If Van Persie was good, Arjen Robben was outstanding.

    His pace absolutely terrified the two centre-backs who couldn't deal with the dual threat of two attackers directly against them.

    Robben, like Van Persie, worked the channels and central areas as well as running behind, and his determination gave Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique countless problems after the break. Two more goals for Robben and a phenomenal victory for the Netherlands.

     

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