Substitutes Leroy Fey and Memphis Depay ensured the Netherlands won Group B of the FIFA World Cup by beating Chile 2-0.
The pair found the net inside the last 15 minutes to settle a largely forgettable encounter in Sao Paulo on Monday and ensure that Louis van Gaal’s men will likely avoid host nation Brazil in the last 16.
A meeting of two of the competition’s most eye-catching teams had been highly anticipated, yet it had failed to live up to its billing before late heroics from Fer and Depay.
Indeed, with the Netherlands – shorn of suspended star striker Robin van Persie and requiring just a draw – opting for a cautious approach, two counter-attacking sides largely cancelled each other out.
But it was always Van Gaal’s men who had looked the most likely to secure victory, with their third successive triumph ultimately coming from two unlikely sources.
Chile, though, can still take solace from having already secured their spot in the knockout phase, where it seems certain Croatia or Mexico await.
With both sides sitting back, the game lacked any real ingenuity during the opening exchanges.