Day 6 Recap

Uruguay's Maximiliano Pereira and Diego Forlan (R), and South Africa's Steven Pienaar (C) gesture to the referee during a 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Honduras 0 – Chile 1 (Group H)

Perhaps fielding an even more entertaining squad than Germany, Chile put on a scintillating attacking performance, but poor finishing and Noel Valladares’ excellent goalkeeping (a welcome change), almost allowed Honduras to grab a draw.

Chile displayed tactical variety – starting with a 4-3-3 and ending with a 3-3-1-3 – and used its wingers and fullbacks to devastating effect. A run into the box from one of those fullbacks, Mauricio Isla, resulted in left wing Jean Beausejour deflecting a cross for the 1-0 victory, a well-deserved result. Unfortunately for the Chilean fans, a few excellent saves from Valladares kept their stomachs aflutter, as Honduras were able to generate a couple half-chances in the second half.

Without starting strikers Carlos Costly and Oscaro Suazo (Honduras) and Humberto Suazo (Chile), both teams lacked the necessary bite to produce multiple goals.

Spain 0 – Switzerland 1 (Group H)

Swiss manager Ottmar Hitzfeld took a page from Bob Bradley’s playbook: using a 4-4-2 with a withdrawn striker, Switzerland became the only other team in recent history to defeat La Furia Roja.

Spain threw wave after wave of crosses, shots, and through balls at the Swiss defense, but it was the underdogs who successfully penetrated the opposition’s penalty area. A relatively harmless Swiss goal kick was headed from target forward Blaise Nkufo to his partner Erin Derdiyok, whose run into the box caused a pileup with center back Gerard Pique and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, left Pique with blood streaming down his temple, and allowed midfielder Gelson Fernandes to poke the ball away from the glassy-eyed defender.

The vaunted Switzerland defense (now having not allowed a goal in five straight World Cup matches) then held on as Spain, and lively substitutes Fernando Torres, Jesus Navas, and Pedro, piled on even more pressure.

The result certainly echoed Spain’s match with USA, as the Swiss exited stage left jubilant and the Spanish milled around in a daze. Switzerland will need a similar display next week when they take on the free-flowing Chileans, and Spain must bounce back against Honduras if they wish to live up to their promise.

South Africa 0 – Uruguay 3 (Group A)

The match started well for South African and neutral fans alike, with Uruguay abandoning its 5-man backline for a 4-2-3-1 (there’s that formation again). Led by withdrawn striker Diego Forlan, the South Americans then dominated by playing an attacking style that entertained the casuals but may have dashed South Africa’s chances of advancing. Forlan picked up the first two goals, a long range deflection (24) and a converted penalty (80), before Alvaro Pereira (95) casually laid in the third.

The host’s chances of advancing were further dented by suspensions. Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune (red card) and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi (yellow card accumulation) will miss the next match, giving them a stern test against France. Even if South Africa wins, they may still need some help from Uruguay (facing Mexico) to advance.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. robinoz0 says:

    the road certainly looks daunting for South Africa. even if they beat France, that -3 in their gd might become the determining factor in their advancement.

    kudos to the Swiss, though, I was on the edge of my seat the entire game!

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