Chile have progress to the quarter finals of the U20 World Cup in Turkey after two late goals saw them defeat Croatia 2-0 in their Round of 16 match up.
Much of the early was concentrated in the middle of the park with Croatia having the best chance in the opening minutes as Ante Rebic’s cross made its way to Jozo Simunovic at the back post but the defender wasn’t able to control the ball and the chance was lost.
With that early scare behind them Chile began to get behind the Croatian defence with Oscar Hernandez and Nicolás Castillo, who this week revealed himself as the team’s hairdresser, looking to get behind their markers whilst Cristian Cuevas was causing plenty of problems as well. It was Castillo who had Chile’s first real chance but his effort was rather wayward after giving his defender the slip.
The match remained scoreless when the half time whistle blew but after the break both team re-emerged with increased vigour with Livaja having a chance from distance for Croatia whilst Angelo Henriquez and Cristian Cuevas did likewise for la rojita.
While Chile were applying pressure, and shading possession, chances were still being created at the other end by Croatia with it definitely being one of the areas that coach Mario Salas will have to continue to work on. Chile did force a save from Croatian ‘keeper Oliver Zelenika though, when Castillo, who was clearly Chile’s best player, curled a free-kick around the Croatian wall.
If anyone was going to open the scoring for Chile it was surely going to be Castillo and he did just that in the 81st minute as he got on the end of a lofted ball from Sebastian Martinez and finished with a backwards header over the stranded Zelenika. Four minutes later the match was all but over as Jozo Simunovic turned Cristian Bravo’s own into the back of his own net.
After the match manager Mario Salas was of course very pleased with the win and noted, “I left with the feeling that we played well and we must continue to improve several things, including the defensive aspects of our game”.
Chile’s quarter final opponent will be Ghana, who saw off Portugal in their Round of 16 match, with the match taking place on Sunday afternoon Turkey time.
Croatia 0-2 Chile
Photo taken from elgrafico.cl