SAO PAULO – Gp B: Holland 2, Chile 0
—- Holland finished top of Group B after goals from Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay gave them a feisty win over Chile who thus ended as runners-up.
Both teams had already qualified for the second round after starting with wins over Spain and Australia.
Norwich City’s Fer headed in his first international goal with his first touch in the 77th minute, before Depay tapped home in stoppage time.
The duel failed to match high-scoring expectations after the four previous games involving the two teams had seen 17 goals.
The Dutch were missing the suspended captain Robin Van Persie, while Chile rested midfielder Arturo Vidal and their absence was keenly felt as the game reached the interval with neither keeper having been forced into a save.
Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez looked most likely to force an opener for the South Americans with his clever movement and eye for a pass causing Van Gaal’s backline concerns on a number of occasions.
Arjen Robben went close to extending his record of having scored in every match when another trademark long run ended with him dragging a low effort just wide.
The first half’s only other moments of note owed more to the two teams’ physical approach, with the flow of the game interrupted by numerous niggling fouls.
It took until the 65th minute for the first real save of the game, Jasper Cillessen forced to beat away Sanchez’s effort at his near post.
That sparked a response from the Dutch as Robben fired straight at Claudio Bravo in the Chile goal after a positive run at their defence.
Depay then brought a good save from the keeper with a powerful shot from range. From the resultant corner the Oranje worked the ball back to Daryl Janmaat and his deep cross was met by the head of the unmarked Fer, who had been introduced just moments earlier.
With Jorge Sampaoli’s side needing a win to finish top of the group they pushed forward in search of an equaliser but were unable to fashion a clear chance and Depay wrapped up the win in the dying seconds when he converted Robben’s low cross on the breakaway.
Coach Louis Van Gaal said: “Of course I know that Leroy Fer can shoot from far out and can move forward on opponents, I know he is good with headers and that gives you have an advantage against Chile.
“As for bringing on Memphis, we analyzed that Chile gives away more space in the last 15 minutes so if you field a creative football players you have a chance to cash in. He made a wonderful goal.
“We are not giving much away and we are creating opportunities. This is being confirmed by the results, if it wasn’t then you’d chop of my head, I’m sure of it.
“My players and my group, we want to score one goal more than the opponent.”
Chile’s Jorge Sampaoli said: “I think that this was a match that we expected, with the Dutch trying to use lots of people on the counter attack.
“We looked for victory, we wanted to win and we couldn’t find a solution to a team that only defended and only aspired to long-range shots, not even counterattacks. This is a Chile that I am proud to be at the helm of, in spite of the fact that we didn’t get a result.
“The courage of the group, they have their heads held high and they are getting ready for the round of 16.”