Curitiba (Brazil), June 24 :
Defending champions Spain finished their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Australia in a Group B encounter at the Arena da Baixada here Monday.
It was a dominating match for Spain, who had 56 percent of possession.
Spain finished third with the three points. The Netherlands topped Group B after their victory over Chile, who finished with six points.
Backed by a vociferous crowd, Australia started the match on the front foot with a couple of threatening shots from Adam Taggart and Matthew Leckie.
Spain responded with their speed, but none of the plays resulted in shots until Australian defence blocked a strike from Santi Cazorla.
Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba found himself in a one-and-one situation against Aussie goalkeeper Mat Ryan in the 23rd minute, but Ryan kept the shot at bay.
Spain started to dominate in the latter part of the first half, and David Villa scored his ninth goal of the World Cup finals in the 36th minute.
Iniesta’s pass found an unguarded Juanfran behind the Aussie defensive line. Juanfran cut into the box and crossed the ball to Villa. The veteran forward had plenty of time and space, backheeling the ball into the net.
In the 46th minute, Cazorla chipped the ball towards the target, but the effort was cleared by Ryan.
Spain continued to pressurise Aussie defence in the second half with Juan Mata replacing Villa in the 56th minute.
Quite unlike the terse opening to the match, the second half saw both sides attack more.
Mckay could have scored for Australia with his shot from outside the box in the 59th minute, but his attempt flew over the bar.
Iniesta sent another great pass in the 69th minute, and Fernando Torres shot the ball past Ryan to double Spain’s lead.
The third goal of Spain came in the 82nd minute. Mata picked up the pass from Cesc Fabregas, and the Manchester United man pushed the ball through Ryan’s legs to score his first World Cup goal.