Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Group H's second set of games

Chile 1-0 Switzerland

The first thing I noted was the return of Behrami and Frei to the team. Frei is the key goalscorer for Switzerland so I saw this as a big boon for them. As was to be expected Chile started off doing more of the attacking while Switzerland were content to defend and hope to catch Chile out on the break. The red card after around 30 mins only allowed this pattern to intensify. Behrami's red was harsh - his high hand connected with Vidal's neck, and Vidal milked it for all it was worth. In fairness the dismissal was soft.

Chile attacked throughout the game but were wasteful with their chances. In fact in two World Cup games they have had over 40 shots and only managed two goals. It is this profligacy which could haunt them in the final reckoning as progression may come down to goal difference.

About five minutes after Switzerland had recorded the record for consecutive minutes played at the World Cup, with around 20 minutes to go, Chile finally broke the deadlock with a close range header from Gonzalez. In injury time Chile's profligacy almost came back to haunt with Derdiyok spawning a brilliant chance to bring things level.

Swiss keeper Benaglio had a quality game as did a number of the outfield Chileans. Unfortunately for Chile Carmona and M Fernandez are now suspended for the Spain game. Two big players to be without. And thanks to a whistle happy ref who wouldn't let the game flow.

Spain 2-0 Honduras

Interestingly Navas came in for Iniesta in midfield and Torres was starting upfront. This match was pretty much all Spanish attack and Honduran defence. Villa smashed the crossbar from 30 yards and managed to open the scoring on 17 minutes with a fantastic goal - lovely turn and precision finish after great build-up play.

The second goal didn't come until the second half - again a nice interchange from the Spanish, this time leading to a well hit, but deflected goal. Villa had the chance for a hat-trick but he missed a penalty (the giving of which was justified), sending the keeper the wrong way but blasting it wide.

Fabregas came on with half an hour to go and impressed in his short time on the field, almost scoring a goal in the process. Navas and Ramos did well down the right all evening and Spain were in general a cut above Honduras.

Honduras did however give Spain the odd nervy moment and worked ultra-hard in defence to keep the damage to a minimum.

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