More than 23 thousand Chileans invaded Cuiabá for the World Cup. They took over more than half of the 39,000 tickets put to sale for La Roja’s first match and pushed Chile to a 3 x 1 win against Australia in the Pantanal Arena this Friday (13 June). Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was in attendance for her National Team's first match in the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Chile's fans, like Brazil’s, stood undaunted after the end of the musical accompaniment to their National Anthem and sang it a cappella to the end, setting the match to a thrilling start even before kick-off. Chile took to the pitch with Bravo as goalkeepers; Isla, Medel, Jara and Mena as defenders; Diaz, Vidal, Aránguiz and Valdivia as midfielders; and Sanchez and Vargas as forwards. Australia went with Ryan defending the goalpost; Franjic, Wilkinkson, Spiranovic and Davidson in the defence; Milligan, Jedinak, Bresciano, Oar and Leckie at midfield; and Cahill as striker.
Once the ball started rolling Chileans quickly dominated the early stages of the match, scoring two goals (Alexis Sánchez and Valdivia) before long.
The fans, excited with the early onslaught, were already shouting "olé" before the half-time whistle. But Chile gradually slowed the pace, and Australia saw its chance to surge. At 34' Leckie crossed to Cahill, who scored an impressive header that brought the Socceroos closer to an equaliser. Cahill had another good chance about two minutes later, coming in from the right flank and hitting a strong through-ball, but Chilean keeper Bravo stopped it with a great save.
The second half of the match saw a more balanced battle between the two teams, but Chile still managed to increase their advantage during stoppage. Pinilla went into the box with a clear view and lodged a strong shot. Ryan palmed the ball, Beausejour grabbed the rebound and scored Chile's third with a great through-ball from outside the box. Forward Alexis Sánchez was named best player of the match.
Chile's next challenge is against Spain on 18 June. The match happens at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Australia and Netherlands face off on the same day, but at the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.