Football Station


Spain Chokes…again

Before the tournament started, Spain were tipped by many to make a massive impact, even take home the Cup.  But their perennial underachievers tag keeps several pundits in check, as they consistently find a way to make themselves lose.  With no Fernando Torres in the starting lineup, David Villa started on his own up top for La Furia Roja.

After a fairly drab first half (now a standard at this World Cup), the second half was promising much of the same.  However, a chaotic goal from Switzerland in the form of Gelson Fernandes was squeezed past the Spanish backline.  After being pinned back in their half for the entirety of the second half, the rare break forward and goal was particularly surprising for anybody watching the game.

Goal scorer Gelson Fernandes battles Sergio Ramos in Durban

In response, Vicente Del Bosque brought in Fernando Torres and Jesus Navas to try and pry apart the Swiss.  The change nearly paid immediate dividends as Torres was played in twice by Villa in what is looking reminiscent of their once potent partnership, but the former scuffed his first shot and forced a corner with his second.  With the ensuing corner, Xabi Alonso absolutely thrashed his shot into the crossbar to see it bounce out.  Jesus Navas also managed an effort that made Diego Benaglio get down for the save.

Eren Derdiyok nearly made it two for the Swiss as he danced around Pique and then Puyol to hit the post.  Had that gone in, Spain would have emulated their underachieving ways from times past.

Spain attacked with 9 men and the Swiss defended with 10 while looking dangerous on the counter attack all match.  With time winding down, Spain repeatedly beat on the door and won several corners…but to no avail.

The Swiss pulled off the upset of the tournament as they beat Spain 1-0 and that has officially concluded the first round of games.  Here’s a fun fact – this is the lowest scoring World Cup ever after 16 games. A moot issue.  Now the tournament has started.

Spain didn’t play terribly, Switzerland just defended like crazy and countered well.  One may argue La Furia Roja could have used Fabregas to give a different edge to the Spanish side.

Diego. He's got your number.

Man of the Match – Diego Benaglio – The Swiss keeper was on top form all match and kept the Spaniards at bay.

Analysis – Spain should still make it out of the group alive, but it throws a huge spin on Group H…especially when Chile plays Switzerland.  Spain need to shrug this off in order to advance, though.

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