Jumat, 25 Juni 2010

Group H: Spain beat Chile, but both move on

The last match day leaves all options open with all sides having a chance to move on though Chile have the best chance and Honduras the least.

(matches to kick off simultaneously)

Chile 1-2 (0-2) Spain
Goals: 0-1 David Villa (24'), 0-2 Andres Iniesta (37'), 1-2 Rodrigo Millar (47').

Spain beat a fighting ten men Chile 2-1 in an entertaining match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. But still both sides moved on into the knockout stage.

If one thought that Chile would mostly defend to get the necessary point to ensure their passage to the pre-quarterfinals, then one would be surprised as coach Marcelo Bielsa's side would play an open game against the European champions. Fernando Torres would miss the first chance for Spain in the 4th minute, while Mark Gonzalez did the same for Chile six minutes later. It was an open game, but Spain was forced to often play counter attacks as Chile were going at them full throttle. And one such situation came in the 24th minute when a Spain long was cleared by the Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo, but the ball only went as far as David Villa on the left and with an open goal he chipped the ball into the net. A brilliant strike which gave Spain the needed lead. The match gained even more pace with chances on both sides before Spain had a perfect build-up Villa with the final pass into the middle to Andres Iniesta and the Barca player nicely pushed the ball into the net past the keeper. In the same move Torres is brought down by Marco Estrada and the defender who had earlier gotten away with a rough tackle did get his second booking and had to leave the field. An efficient Spain were leading 2-0 at the break against a Chile which seemed to be playing for their lives.

After the match restarted Chile went all out to reduce the deficit as they knew if Switzerland would score in the other match, then could be out. And Chile did reduce the score in the 47th minute when substitute Rodrigo Millar's shot was deflected into the Spanish goal by Pique. Chile thereafter were all over the Spanish who seemed to loose their way, but the substitution of Cesc Fabregas for Torres brought stability and new organisation into the Spanish game. And the Spaniards started to combine like only they can, only not moving goalwards but trying to keep possession against the agile Chileans. But the Chileans tired towards the end and in the last 15 minutes it was more of Spanish combination with no interference as both sides looked content with the result. In the end Spain won 2-1 and both sides made their way into the pre-quarterfinals.

Switzerland 0-0 Honduras
Goals: none.

Switzerland were held to a goalless draw by Honduras at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein. Both teams bowed out of the tournament.

Honduras once more played their style of football, standing deep in defence and waiting for counter attacks, while the Swiss just couldn't up the tempo as the Spaniards and Chileans had done to beat the Central American nation.

Switzerland did have the better chances in the first session. First stand-in captain Inler's shot just went wide then Eren Derdiyok's header just missed the mark. It stayed goalless up to the break.

Swiss coach took off Gelson Fernandes and brought on the experienced Hakan Yakin, but even this substitution didn't change things as the Swiss couldn't up the tempo and their final pass didn't find their man. And after the break Honduras became more adventurous and had chances to actually win the match. First striker David Suazo's headed the ball wide, then Adgar Alvarez's shot was excellently saved by Diego Benaglio in the Swiss goal. Both sides had their chances towards the end of the game, but it ended goalless.

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