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World Cup Roundup: Mexico wins opener on Day 2

Mexico tops Cameroon and the Dutch crush defending champion Spain
06/13/2014 9:11 PM ET
By Grant Tunkel

Mexico's Oribe Peralta celebrates after scoring a goal against Cameroon in Brazil on Friday.(AP)
For Mexico, the third time was the charm.

Oribe Peralta scored in the 61st minute to help El Tri overcome a pair of disallowed goals and defeat Cameroon, 1-0, on Friday in soggy Natal, Brazil.

With the Group A match scoreless at the hour mark, Hector Herrera found Giovani Dos Santos in between defenders near the top of the box. Dos Santos' shot was stopped by keeper Charles Itandje, but Peralta arrived at the ball ahead of a sliding defender and buried his attempt into the back of the net.

Mexico was in control for much of the final half hour until stoppage time, when goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was called into action to preserve the win. In the first added minute, a Cameroonian cross from the left flank found an unmarked Benjamin Moukandjo in the box. The forward headed against the grain, forcing Ochoa to make a spectacular diving save.

The match began with the teams feeling each other out on a sloppy day. Mexico appeared to strike first when Dos Santos volleyed a looping cross into the net in the 10th minute. The play was ruled offside, but replay showed the Mexican striker to be in legal position.

Dos Santos appeared to score off a corner in the 29th minute, but the assistant ruled him offside yet again. The call was also hotly contested.

Samuel Eto'o had Cameroon's best chance of the opening 45 minutes when his shot rang off the post midway through the half.

Mexico slides into second in Group A (behind Brazil) and Cameroon is in third (ahead of Croatia).

In Friday's other action…

Netherlands 5, Spain 1: Who saw this coming? The Netherlands scored five unanswered goals to throttle the defending champions in Salvador, Brazil.

Xabi Alonso gave Spain a lead in the 27th minute, converting a penalty just past the diving keeper Jasper Cillessen. But that was all the Spanish could muster.

Robin van Persie's magisterial header late in the first half equalized the match before the Dutch unleashed a second-half barrage. Arjen Robben put his side ahead for good in the 53rd minute, using a deft touch to elude a Spanish defender and score past keeper Iker Casillas. Eleven minutes later, Stefan de Vrij doubled the lead with a far-post header off a free kick.

Casillas had a difficult afternoon in goal for the reigning world champions. On van Persie's 72nd-minute tally, the keeper flubbed a back pass, allowing the former Arsenal striker to gain control and increase the advantage. Eight minutes later, Robben juked Casillas twice before capping the scoring.

The Netherlands takes a commanding lead in Group B, with Spain's road to the knockout stage suffering an early blow.

Chile 3, Australia 1: Chile's early 1-2 punch proved too much for Australia in Friday's nightcap.

The Chileans scored twice in the first quarter-hour, with Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez netting in the 12th minute and Jorge Valdivia doubling the advantage shortly thereafter.

The Socceroos halved the deficit via a 35th-minute Tim Cahill header, and they pressed for an equalizer throughout the second half. But the Chileans withstood the barrage and put the match away in the second minute of second-half stoppage time with a goal by Jean Beausejour.

A look ahead to Saturday...

Day 3 of the 2014 World Cup brings about the first four-match slate of the competition. The top two seeds -- Colombia and Uruguay -- will play their first matches.

Noon, Colombia vs. Greece: Colombia's chances of making noise with the heavyweights took a hit when star striker Radamel Falcao was ruled out for the entirety of the World Cup. Greece, which went 1-0-2 in 2010, is likely fighting for second place in Group C.

3 p.m., Uruguay vs. Costa Rica: Luis Suarez was the star of Liverpool's storybook season in the Premier League. His form -- and his health -- will be vital to Uruguay's chances of making a deep run. Costa Rica are a longshot to escape the group stage,

6 p.m., England vs. Italy: With both squads stocked full of talent, this is likely to be Saturday's marquee matchup. Italy are favorites in Group D, with England (and Uruguay) close behind. A result in this match could prove instrumental in sorting out the group picture. The Italians are also looking for their first victory in World Cup play since the final in 2006, when they defeated France on penalties.

9 p.m., Ivory Coast vs. Japan: Don't sleep on either of these sides, which are likely to vie for second in Group C. The Ivorians have a number of players with big-match experience, including Manchester City's Yaya Toure and former Chelsea star Didier Drogba. Japan's Shinji Okazaki scored eight goals in World Cup qualifying to lead the Asian Football Confederation.

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