Wednesday, 16th June 2010
Switzerland Neutralise Spain
Spain vs Switzerland
Spain and Switzerland were the last two teams to kick their World
Cup campaign off.
Spain, one of the favourites to win the World Cup, started as
expected; looking comfortable on the ball, with plenty of possession. Switzerland would
have been chasing shadows, if the sun were shining.
Even when Switzerland earned a corner, in the ninth minute, it was
Spain who almost scored; breaking out with snappy passing, but David Villa missed the
option of Sergio Ramos at the far post.
Diego Benaglio spread himself at the feet of Gerard Piqué to deny
Spain, then Reto Ziegler forced a save from Iker Casillas; when he fired a low free-kick
at the other end, in the 26th minute.
Switzerland worked hard to keep the Spanish attacking threat
neutralised and for most part, despite a few scares, it worked.
Despite intricate flashes of brilliance from Iniesta and David Villa
on the left, the dim reality is that it's goalless at half-time for the ninth time - out
of sixteen matches played.
The second-half started as the first finished, with Spain mostly
attacking down their left.
From a long Swiss clearance down the middle, the ball was flicked on
then, amid plenty of rolling and tumbling in the Spain penalty area, Gelson Fernandes
emerged as the unexpected hero; the European Champions a goal down.
Spain continued to press forward: Fernando Torres closed down; Alonso
hits the bar; Switzerland holding out.
Spain were very nearly two goals down, with fifteen minutes to go,
when Eren Derdiyok lost the defenders long enough to flick the ball onto the post with the
outside of his foot.
With Spain pushing everyone forward, Switzerland continued to pose
problems on the counter-attack. The minutes seemed to tick away like seconds for Spain,
yet drag on like hours for Switzerland.
The Swiss fans looked nervous; five minutes away from an historical
moment. Then fireworks exploded in the tiny Alpine country and car horns sounded from
Appenzell to Zurich.
Spain 0 Switzerland 1
0:1 Gelson Fernandes (52 mins)
Man of The Match:
Gelson Fernandes - For giving Switzerland their first ever win against Spain.
1 Iker Casillas; 11 Joan Capdevila, 5 Carles Puyol, 3 Gerard Piqué, 15 Sergio Ramos; 14
Xabi Alonso, 16 Sergio Busquets, 8 Xavi; 7 David Villa, 6 Andrés Iniesta, 21 David Silva.
1 Diego Benaglio; 17 Reto Ziegler, 13 Stéphane Grichting, 4 Philippe Senderos, 2 Stephan
Lichtsteiner; 16 Gelson Fernandes, 6 Benjamin Huggel, 8 Gökhan Inler, 7 Tranquillo
Barnetta; 10 Blaise N'Kufo, 19 Eren Derdiyok.
Howard Webb (England)
36 Mins (Switzerland) - 5 Steve von Bergen on for 4 Philippe Senderos
61 Mins (Spain) - 9 Fernando Torres on for 16 Sergio Busquets
61 Mins (Spain) - 22 Jesus Navas on for 21 David Silva
77 Mins (Spain) - 18 Pedro Rodriguez on for 6 Andrés Iniesta
79 Mins (Switzerland) - 15 Hakan Yakin on for 19 Eren Derdiyok
92 Mins (Switzerland) - 22 Mario Eggimann on for 7 Tranquillo Barnetta
29 Mins - Stéphane Grichting (Switzerland)
73 Mins - Reto Ziegler (Switzerland)
89 Mins - Diego Benaglio (Switzerland)
94 Mins - Hakan Yakin (Switzerland)
0 Red Cards.
Of the eighteen matches played between these two countries, Spain have beaten Switzerland
a whopping fifteen times and drawn the remaining three; one of them a World Cup qualifier
at home, in 1958.
Spain disposed of Switzerland (3:0) in the Second Round of USA 1994 and won (2:1) in the group stage of England 1966.
2010 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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