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Wednesday's Winners & Losers
by Paul Kennedy, June 18th, 2014 9:43PM

TAGS:  world cup 2014


[BRAZIL 2014] Wednesday's action introduced the new Dutch star, dubbed the "Oranje Cristiano." We also saw what may be the goal of the tournament -- from an MLS player, no less. And there were also wins for Croatia's Tableclothes and Chile, which sent defending champion Spain packing with what its coach says is a victory he'll never forget. For losers, we've got those rampaging Chilean fans and Cameroon, which has a new nickname: the Fighting Lions.

Winners ...

TIM CAHILL. Cahill's World Cup career is likely over. A second yellow card at the 2014 tournament -- picked up in the 3-2 loss to the Netherlands -- leaves him out of Monday's meaningless final against Spain, but he will go as the Socceroos' all-time leading scorer at the finals with five goals -- half the goals they've scored and more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored perhaps the goal of the tournament, taking a long pass from Ryan McGowan out of the air and hitting it on the volley past Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen with his left foot.

MEMPHIS DEPAY. Cahill's yellow card was for a foul late in the first half on Bruno Martins Indi that forced the Dutch defender to leave the game. Depay came on and all he did was set up Robin van Persie for the equalizer and score the winning goal himself. Australian keeper Mathew Ryan took a lot of heat for not stopping the 20-year-old Depay's winner, but it was a swerving, bouncing shot from distance that would have given any keeper trouble. Born to a Ghanaian father and Dutch mother, Depay joined PSV at the age of 12. The player dubbed "the Oranje Cristiano" is the target of Manchester United, which will be managed by his Dutch coach, Louis van Gaal.

World Cup Subs (Winning Goals):
June 15: Switzerland-Ecuador 2-1 (Seferovic 90+3)
June 16: USA-Ghana 2-1 (Brooks 86)
June 17: Belgium-Algeria 2-1 (Mertens 80)
June 18: Netherlands-Australia 3-2 (Depay 68)

CHILE. La Roja advanced to the knockout stage at consecutive World Cups for the first time with a 2-0 win over Spain.  Four years ago, Chile lost to Spain in the group stage but still both teams advanced in the knockout stage. This time, La Roja beat Spain and sent the defending champions packing. ''I don't know if it's the best victory,'' Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said. ''But it's a victory I'll never forget and how we did it, neutralizing a team with so much ability as Spain.''


CROATIA. Did the hubbub over Croatia players boycotting the media after naked photos emerged of them skinny dipping affect them against Cameroon? No, the Tableclothes are very much alive after an empathic 4-0 win over hapless Cameroon. A win over Mexico Monday will send Croatia to the next round. Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic had two goals, making one wonder what Croatia might have done against Brazil if he had not been suspended for the opener.

EARLY GOALS. There were goals in the first 20 minutes of all three games on Wednesday, pushing the total to 11 in the first 20 games. They helped push the tournament average back to 3.00 goals per game.

World Cup Goals (First 20 Minutes):
1 USA vs. Ghana (Dempsey)
3 Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herze. (own goal)
6 Colombia vs. Greece (3-0) (Armero)
10 Croatia vs. Cameroon (4-0) (Olic)
11 Croatia vs. Brazil (own goal)
12 Chile vs. Australia (Sanchez)
12 Germany vs. Portugal (Mueller)
Chile vs. Australia (Valdivia)
16 Japan vs. Ivory Coast (Honda)
20 Netherlands vs. Australia (Robben)
20 Chile vs. Spain (Vargas)

Losers ...

SPAIN. Spain was the first team to win two Euros and one World Cup in succession, but two Euros and two World Cups in a row? That was just too much for an aging and tired team. Coach Vicente Del Bosque said there would be consequences but there would be time to determine those decisions. "We were inferior to Netherlands and to Chile," he said, "and we need to look forward, nothing else."

CAMEROON. Indomitable Lions? Let's call them the Fighting Lions. Cameroon finished with 10 players in its 4-0 loss to Croatia after the red card to Alex Song, but it should have been eight as Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Benjamin Moukandjo could have been sent off after they exchanged blows late in the game.

CHILE FANS. Security was tightened at World Cup venues after Chilean fans threw fireworks that exploded on the field during Chile's game against Australia. It certainly wasn't enough as dozens of Chilean fans, apparently without tickets, broke down a security gate and rampaged through the media center at Maracana Stadium in search of an entrance to the stadium. Rio police reported that 85 were arrested.

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