Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the first goal for Chile (AFP)

Alexis Sanchez helped Chile pile the pressure on world champions Spain after a 3-1 win over Australia in their World Cup opener in Cuiaba saw them join the Netherlands on top of Group B.

Spain earlier lost to Netherlands in a 5-1 drubbing, so Sanchez and his men knew they had to capitalize on the oppurtunity to send Chile to second place. Sanchez scored a goal before turning provider 70 seconds later to set up Jorge Valdivia.

Tim Cahill pulled one back before half-time with a lovely header to make the Australians hope again. But they couldn’t find that elusive equalizer and were punished Wigan’s Jean Beausejour grabbing a third for Chile in injury time of a pulsating encounter under the Arena Pantanal’s floodlights.

Among those celebrating in the 20,000-strong Chilean support were Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, and the country’s president Michelle Bachelet. Chile have now joined Netherlands at the top of Group B.

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