Groupe H preview, Game 1 Swiss shocked Spain
By James Cox.
Due to the mediocre performances of all the other big nations so far, a lot was expected of the Spanish against Switzerland, they also failed to deliver. Not that they weren’t very unlucky against Switzerland, Spain had all of the ball but fell victim to a Swiss counter attack bundled in by Gelson Fernandes. La Furia Roja threw everything forward to force an equaliser but could not find a way past Diego Benaglio.
Vicent Del Bosque opted to leave Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas on the bench but Andres Iniesta started on the left side of midfield, the first real chance of the game fell to Gerard Pique, who once again proved to be the most casual centre back around as he nonchalantly walked inside the Swiss defence before shooting straight at Benaglio.
David Villa then had the next effort as he chipped wide after being played clear by the impressive Iniesta just before half-time.
Switzerland took a shock lead when Eren Derdiyok broke through the Spanish defence and looked to be brought down by Iker Casillas, but Fernandes followed up and poked in to cause the first genuine upset of the World Cup so far.
Spain sent Torres and Jesus Navas on ten minutes later for David Silva and Sergi Busquets but with the exception of Xabi Alonso rattling the bar from the edge of the area, they failed to create any clear cut opportunities and Switzerland almost doubled their lead when Derdiyok saw his effort come back off the post.
Xavi volleyed over the last kick of the game on a very frustrating afternoon for Spain, a much more clinical display will be hoped for when they meet Honduras on Monday.
A lot of things were learnt in this match, Torres did not look fit coming off the bench, Mick McCarthy does not have a suitable voice for commentary, and although they are the joint favourites, Spain are by no means the finished article, although they should surely still progress.