[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.