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Chile 3 Australia 1: Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli admits his team need to improve to progress in front of 'rivals' Netherlands and Spain

Chile face Spain next in Rio on Wednesday

It was the type of match you might call a throwback, but the hope is that it heralds the future of this World Cup. Chile’s thrilling 3-1 win over Australia certainly summed up the first two days of the tournament: a fast pace, open football and some block-busting goals.

To think this was probably one of the most overlooked fixtures of the opening few days. The glory of it was not just in its gleeful abandon, but also how it sets up what’s to come. Chile are now well ahead of Spain in terms of goal difference as well as points, and should be on the front foot against them.

The nature of their goals - from Alexis Sanchez, Jorge Valdivia and Jean Beausejour - displayed their attacking dynamism. The irony is that this was not exactly one of their best performances, as manager Jorge Sampaoli acknowledged after the match.

“To take on our other rivals, we must make our matches more complete," he said."

If they replicate the forward play in the next match, they could really finish Spain off, as that is exactly the kind of running Vicente Del Bosque’s side seem to be struggling with.


Of course, Chile faced a few struggles of their own, not least in the period after Tim Cahill made it 2-1. The Australians quickly realised the benefit of more frequently aiming for the former Everton man’s head, and it brought the game to a peak.

Ange Postecoglou’s side deserve real credit for that, as does Cahill. This was his fourth World Cup goal, meaning he has now scored more than Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney combined.

It may not prevent Australia falling to fourth place, but it made this game - and this group - all the more engaging.