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Netherlands downs Chile to top Group B

Jul 10, 2014 - 1:20 AM Sao Paulo, Brazil ( - The Netherlands secured the top spot in Group B on Monday by getting a 2-0 victory over Chile at the Arena de Sao Paulo.

The Dutch continued their penchant for strong second-half displays, grabbing both of their goals after the interval.

The opener came in the 77th minute when Leroy Fer, who had only entered the match two minutes prior, nodded home a corner kick. Louis van Gaal's men then tacked on a late insurance goal with Memphis Depay capping a well-worked counter with a simple finish from close range.

The result allows the Netherlands to face the runner-up from Group A, which is likely to be either Mexico or Croatia, in the round of 16.

"If you told me that we'd win our three games to finish top of the group two months ago I'd have been delighted, but I don't want to end it here," said Netherlands winger Arjen Robben. "We want to go on. Although we want to enjoy the moment, we'll soon need to start to work hard in training to improve even more."

Chile, meanwhile, finishes second in Group B to likely book a meeting with Brazil in the knockout round for the second consecutive World Cup, assuming the Brazilians finish atop Group A.

"I felt that our intensity and commitment was outstanding," said Chile head coach Jorge Sampaoli. "Our players should have their heads held high as we've played well in the three games so far and we're now through to the round of 16."

It was a comprehensive performance from the Netherlands on Monday as the European nation controlled much of the match.

The best scoring chance of the opening period came in the 35th minute when Robben delivered a dangerous free kick into the penalty area, but Stefan de Vrij failed to take advantage of the cross, sending his glancing header wide of goal.

Five minutes later, Robben had a glorious opportunity to give the Netherlands the lead when he made a weaving run through the Chilean defense, but the Bayern Munich man curled his shot just wide of the post.

The Dutch continued to apply pressure after the interval, and Depay, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, asked a big question of Claudio Bravo in the 76th minute when he put a shot on frame that forced the Chile goalkeeper to tip it over the net.

But the Netherlands made the most of the ensuing corner kick as Fer nodded Robben's delivery past Bravo for his first international goal.

With both nations already assured spots in the knockout round, Chile eased off the pedal from that point on, which allowed the Netherlands the opportunity to tack on a late goal in stoppage time.

It came in typical Dutch fashion as Robben exploited Chile on the counter before squaring a pass to the back post for Depay to tuck home.

"It was a match of the highest quality. We limited Chile to a handful of opportunities, we neutralized them extremely effectively - and particularly in the second half we created more chances," Van Gaal said. "We did have to change our style today - and I will always pick a system and a strategy that will help us win. However, we're not perfect - in possession we still need to improve, but I do think we're very good without the ball."