Preamble No time for a proper preamble I'm afraid, but we all know what's at stake here. If Spain don't win tonight, they are almost certainly out of the competition. If they do win, Chile are almost certainly out of the competition.
It's a match full of mouthwatering possibilities, but, like a great movie that you never want to end, the experience will be tinged with sadness: one of the great attacking teams of the World Cup (and there aren't many) is almost certainly going out.
Chile (3-3-1-3) 1-Claudio Bravo; 17-Gary Medel, 3-Waldo Ponce, 18-Gonzalo Jara; 4-Mauricio Isla, 3-Marco Estrada, 8-Arturo Vidal; 10-Jorge Valdivia; 7-Alexis Sanchez, 15-Jean Beausejour, 15-Jean Beausejour.
Spain (4-1-2-3) 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 16-Sergio Busquets; 4-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi; 6-Andres Iniesta, 9-Fernando Torres, 7-David Villa.
Referee Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)
Shameless plug for your own work department If Spain go out tonight, this list will have a new No1.
Song to watch tonight's match by It shouldn't work, this song, should it? But Albarn can make almost any noise into a moreish song. He could probably make a hit record out of James Corden's voice*.
* He couldn't
"'Almost certain that either Spain or Chile are going out?'" quotes Andrew C. "Only if Switzerland manage to put one on the net. And since when is that is that a near certainty?"
Have you seen Honduras? My flabber would be gast if Switzerland don't get the two-goal win they need to secure qualification.
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! department "My ticket at the Loftus Versfield Stadium says block G, row x, seat 13," writes Sean Ingle. "The trouble is, there is no 13. It goes from 12 to 14..."
Have you sorted it? I've had some glorious farces when I've been doing against-the-clock paper reports from nighttime games – usually involving the internet, although there was a Brentish one that I can't really detail here – but nothing quite like this.
What should Sean Ingle do, folks (I am, perhaps dangerously, assuming more than one reader)? Nighttime games are a nightmare to write reports from, because you have to send the whole thing on or sometimes before the whistle. And poor old Seany hasn't even got a seat!
1 min Spain, in very, very, very, very, very dark blue, kick off from right to left. Chile are in red.
2 min "Santiago is deserted," says Matt Ridgway. "Apart from the big screen fan zones where these cheeky chappie are waiting for it to all kick off afterwards..."
3 min Alexis Sanchez has his first run infield but is tackled by Pique.
4 min A half chance for Torres. Xavi curved in a free-kick from a narrow position, 40 yards out, and Torres headed high over the bar. He couldn't get over the ball.
5 min Another chance for Torres. Capdevila's sixty-yard pass/punt broke unexpectedly behind the defence and Torres, running onto it, hammered the bouncing ball high over the bar from the edge of the box. The covering Ponce must have just got a touch because a corner was given.
6 min "The Daily Mail's Michael Walker has just walked past me, leading half a dozen English journalists, saying: 'I've just been assigned my seat'," writes Sean Ingle. "For now it looks like I'm OK - I've nabbed seat 14 and no one has stiff-armed me out of the way. Yet."
7 min Spain have started pretty well here, doing their usual pass-and-move thing. Surely this lot can't go out in the first round.
8 min "After the national anthems had been played Clive Tyldesley said: 'Not a word sung by the Spanish players - they know they've got to win'," notes Archi Campbell. "Do you think someone should tell him that the Spanish national anthem doesn't have any words?"
9 min The Chile keeper Bravo is given a warning for timewasting.
10 min What a chance for Chile! Isla on the right played a pass infield to Beausejour, who dummied it superbly and then ran onto the return from Valdivia. He was on the right of the box and cut the ball back towards Gonzalez at the far post, but it was slightly behind him and he slipped as he shot at goal with his right foot. The ball flew high in the air and away for a throw-in. But it was sublime football from Chile.
11 min "I'd sit on the two armrests of 12 and 14," says John T, "and if I was questioned, well, time to get the Battle Fever on."
13 min Chile are having a very good spell. Spain have got a real job on here, and Casillas has to leap backwards to palm Sanchez's overhit cross away for a corner.
14 min "Letter from Santiago," begins Peter Kozak. "The local street booksellers have their barbecues steaming away and a telly next to their stall; in fact the whole city seems to be sat under a cloud of burning meat. Youth have been parading around all morning in silly hats and painted faces; every other car is honking its horn; restaurants and bars are full and offering patriotic dishes of beef and red wine; the excitement is palpable, even the street dogs seem to have picked up on the vibe; and the guy entertaining the drivers at the traffic lights, juggling a ball with feet, neck and back, was especially dazzling on this day that the local team takes on that of the madre patria - whatever the outcome, they´ll be joyous or irate mayhem when the game's over."
15 min Medel is booked for a foul on Busquets. He'll miss their second-round match if they qualify.
16 min Whatever happens tonight, Chile are brilliant. They're the mavericks of this tournament, and in spirit remind me of Romania 1994 and, of course, Denmark 1986;.
18 min "Eternal pessimist that I am, if I was Chilean I'd be saying to myself right now 'Oh well. We'll always have those first 15 minutes'," says Scott W. Chile have been terrific so far.
20 min Ponce is booked for a Beckham-on-Simeone kick and will miss the last 16 match if Chile get there. He could easily have been sent off there.
21 min Estrada becomes the third Chilean to be booked, this time for going through Busquets from behind. That was a poor challenge.
22 min Spain are really struggling to get the passing carousel going. Pique drives a 50-yard pass straight out for a goalkick.
23 min "I see your MBM was on the front page of the North Korean Times today," says Phil Sawyer. "I imagine there are a view confused citizens of the Democratic People's Republic currently trying to figure out what the hell a 'big puddle of radge' is."
Phil, it's Paolo Bandini here: Rob has just sprinted out of the building with a look of terror on his face shouting 'Tell Mum I love her'.
GOAL! Chile 0-1 Spain (Villa 24) This is the goal of the World Cup so far. Xabi Alonso played a searching pass down the inside-left channel for Torres. Bravo came for it of his srea unnecessarily and slid in to tackle Torres. The ball ran loose to Villa, 40 yards from goal and by the left touchline, and he curled it first time into the far corner with his weaker* left foot as if it was the most natural thing on the world. The precision, certainty and class of that goal will live in the memory for a helluva long time. What a goal that is, although it was very poor judgement from Bravo.
* These things are relative
26 min Estrada, on a yellow card, misses a sliding challenge on Iniesta 25 yards out and is penalised. He's extremely lucky to stay on the pitch. Villa hoofs the free-kick miles over the bar. Overrated.
26 min "Spain have in their team 5 players (Xavi, Iniesta, Torres, Villa, Casillas) who will be revered as 5 of the all time greats - playing in the same team," says Richard Finch. "Chile are trying to outplay them. No matter what happens I'm never going to forget this Chilean team." Agreed. I think they are my favourite World Cup team since that Romanian side in 1994.
30 min "That was more of a goalkeeping balls-up than great goal.. why did he come out so far..." says Andy Butler. "Honda's free kick and Quagliarella's goal were miles better!" It was a balls-up but, unlike with Honda's goal, that doesn't diminish the quality of this goal. Don't forget it was his weaker foot as well.
31 min Goals change games – like, duh – and Spain look much more relaxed now. Chile are still having an equal share of possession, though.
33 min Another heavy touch from Torres on the right of the box ends a promising Spain break. He has looked like a pub player in this tournament.
34 min "I have a serious and very real man crush on Gerard Pique: if only every defender had his technical grace," says Scott W. "Nonetheless, I'm pretty surprised that the man who bemoaned the hamburger and booze culture at United seems to be carrying a few extra pounds at this World Cup, waddling around in front of his penalty box, gesticulating at Alonso and Busquets with the air of a man who really wishes he was somewhere else (like Pizza Hut)."
35 min A great chance for Beausejour. He found himself in all sorts of space in the inside left channel and charged into the box, but Pique came across to block his shot and the ball span over Casillas and into the side netting. Beausejour has been a real menace.
36 min Spain might have had a penalty there, when Torres was shoulder charged/shoved over by Vidal. I've seen those given, oh aye, but Torres didn't really appeal.
GOAL & RED CARD! Chile 0-2 Spain (Iniesta 37) + Estrada sent off It's all going off here. Spain are 2-0 up and Estrada has been sent off. Torres played a return ball off to Iniesta and was accidentally tripped – just a tangle of legs – by Estrada. Iniesta swept the ball to the left side of the box to Villa and then positioned himself on the edge of for the return. Villa played it back with perfect weight and Iniesta simply opened his body passed the ball first time across goal and into the bottom corner. A quite sublime goal. As Spain celebrated Estrada was given a second yellow, with the referee having played the advantage in the build-up. So Chile, who have given so much to this game and tournament, are now dependent on Honduras to avoid defeat against Switzerland. Otherwise Chile are out.
40 min The other thing to consider here is that Spain are almost certainly going through as group winners, which means they will avoid Brazil and play Portugal.
42 min "Has anyone else noticed that four of the South American teams have played lovely football at this World Cup?" says Dileep Premachandran. "Apart from five-minute patches here and there, it's been Brazil, so-called keepers of the beautiful game, who have played shit-on-a-stick. Chile are outstanding to watch, and I'll be sad if they don't make the last 16 and take out Brazil."
43 min "This game has had the goal of the tournament and now the dive of the tournament," says James Wells. "As bad as Henry's handball, Torres' dive was."
Don't be a prat: Torres was tripped, it was just accidental.
44 min The passing carousel is working now all right, and Chile have got a major problem here. There have been a few more fouls in the last few minutes, and they'll be down to nine if they're not careful. Maybe they should try the (alleged) Neil Warnock tactic of getting reduced to one player in the hope that the game will be abandoned.
45 min Chris Coleman gets in an awful mess trying to pronounce 'Beausejour'.
45+1 min Chile play some wonderful stuff but they really are filthy buggers. They're your new favourite team, in other words. Ponce, who is on a yellow, has just trod on Alonso's ankle. He could easily have gone for that, and Alonso is limping off to get treatment.
45+2 min While Estrada was unlucky to be sent off, he should actually have got a second yellow card earlier, so don't have too much sympathy.
Half time: Chile 0-2 Spain A potentially fantastic game was killed stone dead by Spain going 2-0 up in the same attack as Chile went down to ten men. Spain will win this and top the group. What matters now is a) whether Honduras can hang on for a draw against Switzerland, thus putting Chile in the last 16 and b) how many players Chile have sent off. See you in 10 minutes.
"Don't be a naive prat. Torres stayed on the floor, holding his head in his hand, implying something much much worse than an accidental trip occurred. Watch it again and come to your senses. Even Liverpool fans were unimpressed. It was a 'dive' in that he implied something happened which absolutely did not and in doing so destroyed the game. It's an awful decision and awful cynicism" - Josh Schaefer.
"Romania 3 - 2 Argentina in 1994. Greatest World Cup Game of the last 30 years?" - Gerry Scott. (I'd say since 1986 - Smyth)
"It's the Red Hot Chile Trippers" - Jason Heppenstall.
"I thought Torres was hamming it up by lying on the ground for so long, especially after ITV had been wetting themselves about how honest he always is, until I remembered being tripped in exactly the same way in my regular Loserball match not long ago. I was concussed for days - you really hit the ground hard" - Niall Harden.
"1) Brazil v Chile would be a million times better than Brazil v Switzerland. Come on Honduras!!2) Does anyone else hate those Ray Winstone adverts that come on at half time?" – GP Dolan.
The Torres/Estrada incident I've had plenty of emails calling me an eff and a cee and – for once – I think they're wrong. Torres was tripped, that much is clear. And while he did go down and stay down, I don't think we can say with anything resembling certainty that he exaggerated it – not least because, earlier in the game, he was studded in the shin by Ponce and did not endeavour to get him in trouble when it was probably a red-card offence. If you want a villain, look at Pique, who ran 60 yards to wave an imaginary card and then all but celebrated when the ref pulled out the red.
46 min Chile have made a half-time substitution, replacing Mark Gonzalez with Rodrigo Millar. He has a half-decent chance within 42 seconds of the restart, but completely misses his kick from Sanchez's cutback.
GOAL! Chile 1-2 Spain (Millar 47) Chile are brilliant. They have started this half with real purpose and Millar, on the edge of the D, shapes a right-footed curler that takes a big deflection off Pique and loops over Casillas.
49 min If my maths are correct – insert your own joke here – this scoreline means that Chile go through even if Switzerland beat Honduras 1-0 (it's currently 0-0). So in many ways, Chile should be hanging on to a 1-2 scoreline. But they will do no such thing, and that's why we love these maverick Chilean mofos.
50 min "I agree he should have been sent off for the stupid trip on Iniesta, and Ponce should have been given a straight red," says Richard Finch. "However I'm falling in love with this Chilean team and am going to be biased. I imagine you have played football at a reasonable level, anyone who has played will tell you that getting clipped unexpectedly on the heel in that manner will result in taking another step or two before falling over in a comical arms outstretched in front of you tumble. What you won't do is flip into the air like a salmon avoiding a bear. Torres slowed down sufficiently, waited for the clip and made a meal of it. To balance out the bias, I suspect Estrada knew exactly what he was doing in terms he made deliberate contact, if it was accidental he would have glanced down to see what he kicked. My last comment about this being an Henry moemnt was perhaps a bit excitable, however it was written before I had read the comments that followed. I'm not trying to call you an eff or a cee, and am looking forward to reading the second half."
Come here Richard Finch, gimme a hug.
51 min Paredes, another substitute (when did he come on?), waves a straight arm into the face of Pique, who goes down. It was accidental, I think; the referee gave a free-kick but no card.
52 min ""The reason you have had plenty of emails is because at half time some TV channels, maybe not in the UK, have shown frame by frame super slo mo categorically showing there was no contact and Torres dived," says Jamie. "When Chile appeal, which they will as they will need some players if they face Portugal, Torres might be looking at a ban. It is that blatant from the replays. Sorry Rob."
I'll take your word for it, and go to bed content in the knowledge that I got it wrong, again.
53 min Paredes also came on at half-time, for Valdivia. Now Spain replace the painfully out of form Torres with Cesc Fabregas, so Villa will go up front.
56 min "Chile have certainly been sticking the boot in, but did Spain watch Platoon on the bus down to the ground?" says Alex Perkins. "Artistic impression of which Tom Daley wouldn't be ashamed."
57 min Spain are having a sustained spell of possession. They look and feel comfortable, yet they are only two goals – one for Chile, one from Switzerland – from going out.
58 min "Torres gets a nasty little kick in the shin a la Beckham-Simeone and he just looks puzzled and fixes his socks," says Ben Holland, preaching to the converted. "He gets barged over in the area, a 25% penalty and he doesn't claim it. Then he's tripped - accidentally - running at speed by a guy he couldn't see, and he suddenly turns into Rivaldo? Come on."
60 min As things stand, both teams go through with this result, but both are in serious danger of going out if they concede, so there's a bit of confusion as to whether they should stick or twist. At the moment they are twicking.
61 min "Great game," says Greg Stringer. "Scousers think they're Spain. I know a couple who genuinely believe Liverpool won Euro 2008. And my lad's swimming teacher - who does bear a resemblance to Pepe Reina, oddly - trumpeted another Scouse triumph when Nadal won Wimbledon. I'm not joking!"
62 min Iniesta is now playing as the left forward, with Fabregas right and Villa central. Chile have been a bit less physical since the break and Spain are starting to unpick them a bit. Twice in a minute Villa fails to control through passes from Fabregas.
63 min Xavi plays a wonderful disguised chip over the top for Villa, who chests it down and is about to shoot from 12 yards when the covering Ponce makes a brilliant interception.
64 min "I saw the replay as well and it didn't look like there was much (if any contact) but rather Torres tripped over his own two feet," says Jason Motsko. "However just because he wasn't fouled by Estrada doesn't mean that he wasn't hurt – hitting the ground that hard at full speed can seriously hurt, not to mention he may have tweaked his injured knee or an ankle when he got tangled up in himself."
65 min Spain are all over Chile like a cheap one now. Villa bursts into the box and is about to shoot when Isla on the outside makes a desperate and excellent challenge. Chile then make a surprising third substitution: Alexis Sanchez is replaced by Fabian Orellana.
66 min "I'm with you on the Torres tackle, Rob," says Phil Sawyer. "Footballers tend to spring surprise recoveries if a goal goes in while they're lying on the floor. He stayed down for a long time and didn't take part in any celebrations of the goal."
67 min As things stand, Chile can afford to concede a third goal (and indeed a fourth, a fifth and a 92nd). But if Switzerland go ahead against Honduras, a two-goal defeat here will put Chile out. The poor buggers look shattered.
69 min Xavi's corner is headed away by Medel, and then Spain come again and again and again and again. Lord knows how you concentrate against this for nine minutes, never mind 90.
70 min "Curious that ITV have not made anything of Chris Coleman's expertise when it comes to Spanish football after his spell at Real Sociedad..." honks Rory Saunders.
71 min "Regardless of whether Torres engaged in the darker arts (he did) the saddest thing is that the sending off ruined what was potentially the match of the tournament so far," says Jonathan Francis. "Spain's first real challenge in this cup and they've been the beneficiaries of a terrible clearance and a dodgy red card."
True that. Chile were superb for 25 minutes and were outplaying Spain.
72 min Sergio Ramos goes on a zesty run from the halfway line and nutmegs Jara on the edge of the box, but Isla carefully sees the ball out for a goalkick. Chile are defending heroically.
73 min Another Spain substitution: Javier Martinez comes on for Xabi Alonso.
74 min "MMA Football Smackdown!" shouts Ellen Risch. "I may have to start watching some Chilean Primera Division matches, because from what I can tell, they play a special brand of MMA-style football in Chile where the only rule is no eye-gouging."
75 min "They must have their own cameras/reality on French TV," says Stephen Gibb, "because the replays on TF1 show clear contact, and that Torres' reaction was entirely reasonable and proportional. And he should not have been on the pitch to make the challenge."
76 min Paredes has a ludicrously ambitious shot from wide on the right that goes miles wide.
79 min Nothing is really happening. Spain don't want to push too hard for a third, lest they concede. Chile don't want to push too hard for an equaliser, lest they etc. So Spain are having loads of the ball without doing too much with it.
82 min Spain continue to pass the ball in front of Chile. This isn't exactly West Germany 1-0 Austria from 1982, but it does have the whiff of Ireland 1-1 Holland from 1990.
83 min "I think Jonathan Francis is being pretty biased implying that Spain are only ahead because of a terrible clearence and a dodgy red card," says Niamh Ni Chonail. "Chile are lucky to have 10 men on the field; Estrada should have been shown a 2nd yellow a few mins earlier so he was only getting what was due to him anyway. Other Chilenos (Ponce) should have been sent off in the first half as well. Chile are a good team but far too physical. Villa took his chance very well and scored a great goal with his "wrong" leg. Yes, Bravo was partly to blame for the goal, but keepers often are. And this is not Spain's first challenge of the tournament - that was in the opening game against Swizerland and they failed."
84 min It's still Switzerland 0-0 Honduras. Even a 1-0 win for Switzerland is not enough provided this stays 1-2. Which it probably will, because neither side is really trying to score.
85 min "There's a big thundetorm here, and I've lost my satellite feed," says Mac Millings. "Smyth, you're all I have. Words I'd hoped never to type, while always knowing, deep down, this day was coming."
86 min There will be a fair bit said about these last 15 minutes, because both sides have settled for the result and just aren't trying to score. Spain are passing the ball in the middle third of the field, with no pressure on the ball and very little desire to enter the final third. It's a slightly unpalatable ending to a game that started explosively, but you can understand why it is happening.
88 min Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
89 min It's still 0-0 in the other game, so these two are almost certianly going through: Spain to play Portugal, Chile to play Brazil.
90 min: SPAIN ENTER THE FINAL THIRD OF THE FIELD Ramos breaks down the right and pulls back a low cross towards Fabregas, who misses his kick. And then normal service is resumed. Chile haven't touched tbe ball for five minutes.
90+1 min There will be two minutes of added time. David Silva has been waiting to come on since the 87th minute, but the ball has not been out of play because Spain are tapping it around the centre circle.
Full time: Chile 1-2 Spain Spain and Chile are through to the last 16. So the purists got the outcome they wanted, if not in the manner they wanted: the last 20 minutes of the match were a complete non-event as both sides settled for what they had. But before that it was a cracking match, full of excellent, fearless football and random brutality from Chile. Spain will play Portugal and Chile will play Brazil. Thanks for all your emails; night.
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