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Spain bounces back; Chile cracks Swiss defense
by Mike Woitalla, June 22nd, 2010 2:45AM

TAGS:  spain, world cup


[GROUP H] Spain rebounded from its opening loss to Switzerland to down Honduras, 2-0, while the Swiss fell, 1-0, to Chile, which takes the group lead on six points with one game left. Here's what we liked and didn't like about Monday’s Group H action ...

What we liked ...

-- After utterly failing to live up to its favorite billing in its opening game, a 1-0 loss to Switzerland, Spain totally dominated Honduras with his quick passing and fluid movements in a 2-0 win over Honduras that should have been a rout, were it not for a missed penalty kicks and several missed opportunities.

-- David Villa missed a penalty kick -- shooting wide -- but struck both goals in Spain’s win to up his scoring for Spain to 38 goals in 58 appearances, just six goals short of record holder Raul. Villa, who missed Spain’s 1-0 win of the 2008 European Championship final because of injury, joined Barcelona from Valencia before the World Cup on a $50 million transfer.

-- Eight minutes after Switzerland set a World Cup shutout record by beating Italy’s mark of 550 minutes, Chile’s Mark Gonzalez scored with a close-range header in the 75th minute to give the Chileans a 1-0 win. Switzerland made World Cup history in 2006 by being eliminated without scoring a goal, having lost on penalty kicks to Ukraine in the round of 16 after 120 minutes of scoreless play.

What we didn't like ...

-- Switzerland had never had a player ejected in World Cup play until Valon Behrami was red-carded in the 31st minute for swinging his arm in the face of Arturo Vidal.

-- Coach Vincente Del Bosque is obviously hoping that Fernando Torres, who had knee surgery in mid-April, will play his way back to fitness. After two games it's been slow going for the striker who hasn’t scored in a competitive game for Spain in a year. “I’m very happy to have played 70 minutes after such a long time out,” Torres said. “My knee responded well and the coach can count on me for a full 90 minutes.”

-- Honduras has lost its first two games, having opened with a 1-0 loss to Chile. It fared better during its only other World Cup appearance, in 1982, when it opened with ties to host Spain and Northern Ireland before being eliminated with a 2-0 loss Yugoslavia.

  1. William White
    commented on: June 22, 2010 at 1:15 p.m.
    Was ANYONE else struck by what I thought was far and away the most salient - and disgusting - aspect of the Chile-Switzerland game? Namely, FIFA has obviously thrown a fit in the executive offices of ABC/ESPN, and ABC/ESPN's announcers have obviously been given a mandate to back off any criticism of referees at the World Cup. AL Ghamdi Khalil, the game's Saudi referee, absolutely butchered the game. That incompetent fool issued 9 yellow cards and, of course, the one marginal red card. The FIFA site doesn't show statistics on fouls called, but he was continually stopping play for the most incidental contact. Now, you would think that as the yellow cards piled up that at SOME point the announcers might have said something. They said nothing. In fact, the few times they did comment on the refereeing they were obviously down on their knees, performing a sex act on the ref's 'competence'. Has anyone also noticed how ABC/ESPN has reeled in their offsides replays - the ones where they shade the field along the offsides line at the moment the ball is struck? When they now put these replays up on the screen it now comes down very quickly (that is, of course, when it shows that the AR blew the call.) Absolutely disgusting. FIFA has stocked the World Cup with refs who have no business working games at this level. I mean, what kind of soccer gets played in Mali? In Saudi Arabia? These referees can't possibly be equipped to ref a World Cup game. And, when the world (or at least the US) is in an uproar about the phantom foul which negated Maurice Edu's winning goal, what has FIFA's response been? OBVIOUSLY THEY COMPLAINED TO ABC/ESPN OVER THE WEEKEND - AND ABC/ESPN HAS OBVIOUSLY DIRECTED ITS ANNOUNCERS TO FIND WAYS TO PRAISE THE REFEREES COMPETENCE. Disgusting.... absolutely disgusting. I was thoroughly disgusted with the Chile-Switzerland game. Well, check that... It wasn't the game so much, it was the referee. AND, it wasn't even the referee so much as it was ESPN's

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