Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

FIFA: Spain shocked by flukey Swiss; Chile make history

Posted in International Football by peterbein on June 16, 2010
Gelson Fernandes

Gelson Fernandes scored the winning goal in Switzerland's 1-0 win over Spain

After Brazil squeaked their way past a resilient North Korea on Tuesday another FIFA World Cup favourite Spain had less luck in their opening group match against Switzerland on Wednesday. The Spanish lost to a Gelson Fernandes goal in the 52nd minute of their Group H encounter in what proved to be the first major shock of the tournament. That means that the Swiss top the group along with Chile who, earlier in the day, had beaten Honduras by a lone Jean Beausejour strike ten minutes from the break.

La Roja, as the Spanish national team are known, have been the pre-tournament favourites and were widely expected to beat Switzerland in their opening Group H match in Durban. Sadly for Spain’s coach Vicente del Bosque his troops were to go down by a goal to nil despite his side having the lion’s share of the possession and the chances. In face Switzerland’s only real chance in the game came along with the goal seven minutes after the break. A traditional route one goal was started with a punt upfield from goalkeeper Diego Benaglio which was headed on by Eren Derdiyok. He made a run and received the ball back before having a run into the penalty box before being tripped by Spanish keeper Iker Casillas. After Derdiyok was left sprawling in the box the loose ball was tapped in from Fernandes who was chased unsuccessfully by Gerard Piqué and the Swiss had the lead with their first real opportunity of the game. After that there were two great chances which hit the woodwork, one for either side. Xabi Alonso hit the crossbar after shooting from distance on 72 minutes while Switzerland’s only real chance to put the game to bed came three minutes later when Derdiyok, after a mazy run, shot without the outside of his right foot only to see his shot cannon back off a post. The Spanish, try as they might, were unable to summon up an equalizer and it was Ottmar Hitzfeld and his troops who were to celebrate a wonderful three points after the game.

Earlier in the day Chile made history by winning their first FIFA World Cup match a mere 48 years after winning their last one which was played on home soil in the 1962 tournament. A deserved win for the South Americans was sealed when Alexis Sanchez played a lovely through ball down the right to Mauricio Isla who squared it to Jean Beausejour who turned it home from a few yards out. The game could’ve been over as a contest on 65 minutes but Waldo Ponce’s close range header was stopped brilliantly by Honduras keeper Noel Valladares to keep the Central American side in the game. Unfortunately for the Hondurans it was Marcelo Bielsa’s men who had done just enough to take the three points in one of the FIFA World Cup’s more entertaining affairs so far.

After one game each Spain and Honduras are propping up the Chileans and the Swiss before the second set of games in the group sees Spain meeting fellow opening match losers Honduras in Johannesburg on Monday, June 21st whilst Chile meet Switzerland earlier on the same day in Port Elizabeth.

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