Swiss pull off shock win over favourites Spain


Switzerland pulled off the biggest shock of the 2010 World Cup so far when they beat European champions Spain 1-0 in Group H yesterday, their first ever victory over their opponents in 19 games.
Gelson Fernandes’ goal after a mix up in the Spanish defence gave the Swiss a shock 52nd minute lead and Spain, for all their talent and guile, were unable to find a way through the massed ranks of white Switzerland shirts.
The Swiss share the lead in Group H with Chile, who beat Honduras 1-0 earlier in the day.
After a forgettable first half, the Swiss looked like spending another 45 minutes defending for their lives until goalkeeper Diego Benaglio’s long clearance was allowed to bounce and Fernandes pounced when the ball emerged from a clutter of bodies.
The European champions, many pundits’ favourites to win the tournament, enjoyed a near monopoly of possession for much of the game but were unable to convert the chances they created.
Coach Vicente del Bosque, who had started the match with David Villa as a lone striker, brought Fernando Torres and Jesus Navas on after the goal to try and rescue the game but they were unable to find a way through.
Xabi Alonso hit the underside of the bar with a fine strike in the 70th minute, Navas shot lamely at Swiss goalkeeper Benaglio when through on goal about a minute later, and Gerard Pique squandered another chance on the next Spanish attack.
Eren Derdiyok, playing in place of his injured captain Alex Frei, then jinked his way through the defence to almost double the Swiss lead but, to the relief of the Spanish, his shot came bouncing back off the post.
In an earlier match, Chile ended their 48-year wait for a World Cup victory by beating Honduras 1-0 with a fortunate goal in the Group H opener yesterday.
Winger Jean Beausejour was credited with the winner in yet another low scoring match that hardly set the pulses racing, finding himself on the end a slick attack in the 34th minute.
Playmaker Matias Fernandez started the move by splitting the defence with a delightful pass to release Mauricio Isla down the right. His cross was met at the near post by Honduras defender Sergio Mendoza, with Beausejour in close attendance.
Mendoza tried to clear the ball but only managed to hit the back of the Chilean with the rebound nestling in the net.
It was a fortunate goal but Chile deserved their win and almost added a second in the 64th when a close range diving header from centre-back Waldo Ponce produced a brilliant reaction save from Noel Valladares. —Reuters