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The favorite falls in shocker
by Mike Woitalla, June 16th, 2010 1:58PM

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TAGS:  spain, world cup

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[GROUP H] Switzerland stifled Spain and beat the European champion and tournament favorite, 1-0. Chile won its first World Cup game in nearly half a century by downing Honduras. Here's what we liked and didn't like about the opening Group H games ...

WHAT WE LIKED …

-- Gelson Fernandes, who immigrated to Switzerland at age 5 from Cape Verde, became a Swiss hero on Wednesday. He pounced on a loose ball following a goalmouth scramble, then pinged home a rebound from his own shot to give Switzerland a huge upset victory over Spain. The stunning win comes within two years of Switzerland suffering one of the most embarrassing upsets in European soccer history: a 2-1 loss to tiny Luxembourg in their first qualifier for this World Cup.

-- With a 1-0 win over Honduras, Chile won its first World Cup game since 1962, when it beat Yugoslavia on home soil in the third-place game. The Chileans ended their 13 game-winless streak (over four World Cups) thanks to a goal by Jean Beausejour. Chile dominated the game, but had a bit of luck on the goal. Sergio Mendoza’s attempted clearance on the slide deflected off the back of Beausejour’s thigh and into the goal.

-- Kansas City Wizard Roger Espinoza, who immigrated to the USA at age 12 and played youth ball for the Colorado Storm before starring at Yavapai College and Ohio State, started for Honduras and played the full 90.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE …

-- So foul-happy were the Swiss, especially in the first half, defender Phillipe Senderos even managed to down teammate Stephan Lichtsteiner with a slide tackle. The Swiss ended the game with 21 fouls committed (Spain had 8) and four yellow cards (0 for Spain).

-- Spain failed to translate a 63 to 37 percent edge in possession. And what was Coach Vicente Del Bosque thinking, bringing on Fernando Torres in the 61st minute? Torres, recovering from knee surgery, showed his lack of fitness when he fumbled the chance for a breakaway late in the game.

-- With Chile downing Honduras, Concacaf teams are winless after their first group games -- the USA and Mexico having both started with ties.



0 comments
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: June 16, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.
    DelBosque screwed this one up and has been doing so for some time. He's been playing two destroyers and one striker and eeking out friendsly wins for months against inferior teams. Against an organized side he knew was going to bunker, this was the time to bring back the 4-1-3-2 assault vehicle of Euro 2008. Instead he comes out with two destroyers AGAIN. As if he was playing for a tie. And Torres coming in not in form was a slap in the face to his other quite capable strikers. Spain needs to play like champions, and not like some mid table team hoping for a point, and bury Honduras, and bring back their confidence for Chile. Otherwise, their Coach is the reason they don't go through.

  1. Brian Herbert
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 1:13 a.m.
    A highlight of the Chile match was getting to watch Alexis Sanchez, exciting young player.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 17, 2010 at 8:58 a.m.
    Chile vs. Honduras was the best game some far in the World Cup, also glad to see Uruguay beat South Africa yesterday!


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