Thrills, spills and cross after cross: how Stats Zone saw Chile 3-1 Australia

FFT's James Maw analyses the Group B match between La Roja and the Socceroos using Stats Zone...

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Chile's 3-1 victory over Australia may not dominate back pages the world over in the same way as the Netherlands' jaw-dropping 5-1 shellacking of world champions Spain, but it was still a hugely compelling encounter.

Chile were ahead on 12 minutes, when Alexis Sanchez rattled home from close range after a spot of penalty box pinball - Mile Jedinak failing to clear the kind of cross that's been meat and drink to him all season in the Premier League.

Before the Socceroos had a chance to catch breath, they were two down, Jorge Valdivia elegantly arching a shot into the top corner with his right foot - a fine finish.

But, where many rank outsiders would have wilted, the Australians dug deep and made the match a real contest. In the 31 minutes between Chile's second goal and the half-time whistle, the men from Down Under fought back, hitting 4 shots to Chile's 3 and having that period's only 2 shots on target.

One of those 2 shots on target was a Tim Cahill header which beat Oscar Bravo in the Chile goal.

That's not to say Chile completely lost control of the game. In fact, Cardiff City scrapper Gary Medel - playing at centre-back - was the epitome of composure on the ball. He was successful with 72 of his 73 passes, giving him a pass completion rate of 98.63%. Only Nottingham Forest full-back Gonzalo Jara completed more passes in the match (74), but his success rate was far lower (91.36%). He also made a decent defensive contribution, including 5 clearances.

The fact Medel made so many clearances was perhaps down to how often Australia were crossing the ball into the box. Getting the ball into wide areas and then looking for a run from Cahill appeared to be the Aussies' Plan A - and it brought them a decent degree of success. Australia succeeded with 8 of their 19 crosses into the opposition penalty area, while Chile were successful with just 1 of their 17. Given the man winning many of those aerial battles was a 5ft 10in 34-year-old - albeit one very adept in that kind of situation - it does seem possible this is something of a weakness for the Chileans.

Fortunately for Chile, it's unlikely tiki-taka masters Spain or clearly capable counter-attackers the Netherlands will sling quite so many crosses into their box, but as the tournament wears on - should they progress, and Jean Beausajour's injury-time strike vastly improved their chances - it may become more of an issue.

Facts and figures

  • Chile scored 3+ goals in a World Cup game for the first time since 1962.
  • Tim Cahill has scored in 3 World Cups for Australia; no other Australian has scored in more than one tournament.
  • Tim Cahill (4 goals, 1 assist) has now been involved in 55.6% of Australia's goals (9) in World Cup history.
  • The Socceroos had 9 shots in the second half, only 1 fewer than Chile managed in the whole match.
  • Chile scored with 3 of their 5 shots on target.
  • Alexis Sanchez became the first Chilean to score a goal and provide an assist in a single WC game (1966-present).
  • Alexis Sanchez has played a hand in 7 of the last 8 goals that Chile have scored (6 assists, 1 goal).       
  • Jean Beausejour became the first substitute to score a goal in this World Cup.
  • The World Cup group containing Spain and Chile in 2010 saw just 8 goals in total. Group B has already seen 10 after only 2 games.

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