Diego Costa vs Sanchez and Vargas - How Chile beat Spain

Alexis Sanchez Chile

Chelsea target Diego Costa was disappointing as his side crashed out of the World Cup, while Chile's forwards were on top form.

Spain are out of the World Cup. For the third time in the last four tournaments the world champions have fallen at the group stage, and Spain's capitulation is perhaps the most shocking of all.

It is certainly the biggest story of the World Cup so far, the team who came into the tournament on the back of victories in the past three major championships are out after just two games after being thoroughly beaten by both the Netherlands and Chile.

Where did it all go wrong for Spain? The defence was shaky, Iker Casillas was inept in goal and the midfield struggled to replicate the flowing 'tiki-taka' of past tournaments. But the issues started in attack with star striker Diego Costa.

Costa was excellent all season leading the line for an Atletico Madrid team that won the La Liga title and reached the Champions League final. For Spain he was completely out of sorts, making the tentative Fernando Torres look like a viable alternative

The world champions looked to adapt to a more attacking style to accommodate Costa, rather than passing teams to death as they did in previous tournaments.

But their midfield maestros were unable to link effectively with the Atletico man, he grew increasingly isolated in attack and began snatching at chances that came his way.

In the loss to Chile, the gap between the two sides' forwards was clear.

  TeamPosMinsTouchesPoss LostTotal PassesAccurate PassesTotal ShotsShots on targetChances Created
Diego Costa Spain FW 64 21 8 12 8 3 0


The first thing that jumps out about Costa's stats is his low number of touches. As the lone striker in a team previously built on slow, steady possession, to amass just 21 touches of the ball suggests that the midfielders simply could not find opportunities to get the ball to the centre-forward.

Then consider Costa's profligacy. He failed to hit the target with his three shots, taking him to a total of five attempts without troubling the goalkeeper over the course of the tournament. He did not hold the ball up particularly well either, conceding possession away eight times and making just 12 passes during the game.

  TeamPosMinsTouchesPoss LostTotal PassesAccurate PassesTotal ShotsShots on targetChances Created
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 90 55 22 31 21 1 1 1
  TeamPosMinsTouchesPoss LostTotal PassesAccurate PassesTotal ShotsShots on targetChances Created
Eduardo Vargas Chile FW 85 35 9 23 18 2 2 1

Chile's men up front, on the other hand, were constantly involved in the action and made their touches count when they did receive the ball. Both Sanchez and Vargas dropped deep to receive the ball regularly, and routinely ran at the Spanish defence.

Sanchez gave the ball away far more than Costa, but this was because he was invariably driving at the shaky back four and making passes in the final third.

As is often the case in football, the side that took their chances won the game. While Costa was wasteful in front of goal, the Chilean duo hit the target with all three of their combined attempts. Vargas scored with one of his two attempts, while Sanchez's only shot on goal forced a save from Iker Casillas, with Charles Aranguiz converting the rebound.

Spain's capitulation was shocking, but in a World Cup so full of goals and attacking football you cannot expect to compete with lacklustre forward play.

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