[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.