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Switzerland stun much-fancied Spain; Chile outclass Honduras (Read 2325 times)

Engr. Osagie

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                     Switzerland stun much-fancied Spain; Chile outclass Honduras

Unfancied Switzerland inflicted the first big shock of the World Cup by consigning European champions Spain to a surprise 1-0 defeat in Durban.

It is a nightmare start for Spain, which arrived in South Africa ranked as the second best team in the world. It will surely now have to win its next two group games to avoid an embarrassing exit before the knockout stages.

Gelson Fernandes' 52nd minute strike for the Swiss came completely against the run of play, and will hardly be remembered as one of the tournament's finest, but despite pouring forward in the game's dying stages Spain could not salvage a point.

The Swiss now share top spot in the group with Chile, which produced an impressive display to beat Honduras 1-0 in Wednesday's early kickoff.

Jean Beausejour grabbed the only goal of the game, bundling home a cross from Mauricio Isla, but Chile could and should have scored more after squandering a host of chances.

Switzerland 1-0 Spain

A spirited rearguard action earned Switzerland one of its most famous victories at the World Cup as it held on for a 1-0 win over Spain.

Coach Vicente del Bosque will have plenty of soul searching to do after Spain dominated possession but struggled to create any clear cut chances.

In a labored opening half, it was Spain defender Gerard Pique who forced the first save of the match as he twisted free in the penalty area before having his shot smothered by Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

Barcelona striker David Villa was next to get a sight of goal as he drew Benaglio before curling a chip wide of the post but the Swiss negotiated their way to the break without conceding.

With the second half seven minutes old Switzerland shocked Spain by scoring with its first attack of note. Blaise N'Kufo released Eren Derdiyok who took a tumble over the onrushing Iker Casillas, but as the ball squirmed loose Gelson Fernandes prodded it into an empty net.

Spain responded by introducing Liverpool striker Fernando Torres but it was Villa who had the next chance, racing onto a through ball from Andres Iniesta only to be thwarted by Benaglio.

Then as Villa turned on the edge of the area the ball ran free to Iniesta, who struck the ball narrowly wide of the far post.

Torres then blazed wide from just inside the area before Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso crashed a venomous shot against the bar from 20 yards out.

As the Spanish launched numbers forward they left gaps at the back and Derdiyok nearly put the game beyond their reach as he wriggled past Carles Puyol in the box before prodding a shot against the foot of the post.

Torres blasted a volley over the bar in the closing stages but Switzerland duly held on to claim three points and register its first ever win over Spain.

Spain's defeat means it now has no margin for error in the next two games against Honduras and Chile.

Chile 1-0 Honduras

Chile kicked off its first World Cup campaign in 12 years with a comfortable 1-0 victory against unfancied Honduras on Wednesday, but needed a fortuitous first-half goal to triumph in South Africa.

The South Americans, who qualified second from their region behind Brazil, dominated the Group H opener in Nelspruit against a 38th-ranked team who scraped the final place in the CONCACAF zone.

But for all its silky skills and intricate passing, coach Marcelo Bielsa was left frustrated on the sidelines as Chile could not translate its possession into goals as Honduras -- playing at soccer's showpiece event for the first time since 1982 -- defended stubbornly.

The breakthrough came in the 34th minute when Jean Beausejour bundled the ball into the net after a low right-wing cross by Mauricio Isla.

The forward claimed just his second international goal in 28 appearances, though television replays suggested the ball went in illegally off his arm after deflecting off a sliding Honduras defender.

The Central Americans had another slice of poor luck in the first minute after halftime when Gary Medel was brought down by Edgard Alvarez on the edge of the penalty area -- but the referee ruled it was not a foul despite the Hondurans' appeals for a spot-kick.

Chile playmaker Alexis Sanchez should have made it 2-0 just after an hour, but screwed his shot wide after a superb burst through the defense had put him clear on goal.

Waldo Ponce then inexplicably stooped to head the ball straight at Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladreas from close range when it seemed easier to score, having been set up by a well-worked free-kick.

Chile had the ball in the net again with 15 minutes to play, but Jorge Valdivia was ruled offside after teammate Sanchez clearly used his hand to set him up -- for which he should have been booked by referee Eddy Maillet of the Seychelles.

On Tuesday, Honduras became the first nation to select three brothers in a World Cup squad, with striker Jerry Palacios called up to replace the injured Julio Cesar de Leon.

He was an unused substitute against Chile along with the younger of the trio, Johnny, while midfielder Wilson started the game and was booked shortly before the only goal.
Engr. Osagie Ogbeide,
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Jasogbe Global Network,
08055672630, 08038624858.
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