Group H game 2 – Spain versus Switzerland

The Swiss defense, harder to break than one of their national banks

PEEEEEEEEEEP PEEEEEP PEEEP. Game over. The upset of the tournament so far as Switzerland beat Spain for the first time and share the top of the group with Chile!

96:00 – Spain now with a corner.

95:00 –  Yakin handles the ball and gets a yellow for his efforts. Spain get a free kick in a dangerous area. Its wasted by Alonso but Spain get it back.

94:00 – Nervy here. Benaglio is throwing himself around with reckless abandon. He’s braver than William Wallace!

93:00 – Barnetta off for Switzerland He’s been immense. Eggimann on.

91:00 – Yellow card for the Swiss keeper for time wasting!

5 minutes of extra time. Cow bells a ringing all over Switzerland.

88:00 – A sign that you have been injured for the past two months. Torres is presented with a chance to go one on one but his touch fails him and he prods it too far.

85:00 – Spain still being forced out wide. They’re trying a Plan B by shooting from outside the box which should leave space to penetrate with their slick passing. Too little too late?

82:00 – Switzerland pressing now as Spain are leaving themselves vulnerable to the counter attack. Barnetta is the main culprit as his first shot goes over the bar. Moments later he gets another chance and wins the Swiss a corner.

79:00 – Navas gets in on the action and shoots from outside the box and is inches wide. Derdiyok off and Yakin on.

77:00 – Iniesta hurts himself in a 50/50 challenge comes off and club team mate Pedro comes on.

75:00 – SWISS MISS(es). Derdiyok waltzes into the penalty area, controls, dribbles and sends a side footed that beats Casillas and luckily for Spain hits the post and bounces back out. A couple of other Swiss players try a shot but they’re all weak and hard to control. Spain are very very lucky they are not down by 2 goals.

73:00 – Spain are now attacking relentlessly. One has to imagine that they will score but the Swiss defense is performing admirably.

70:00 – WHAT A CANNON SHOT by Alonso from a corner but it comes off the top bar and back into play. That was unlucky and would have been a beautiful goal.

68:00 – First chance for Torres as he finds himself alone but the pass is just slightly behind him and he bobbles it. Finally when it’s under control, he turns and shoots over.

65:00 – An insane stat just came up in that Switzerland have not conceded a world cup goal in 457 minutes which dates back to against Spain in the 94 World Cup. That’s shutting down the bank! (keep in mind i’m sleep deprived)

63:00 – Iniesta gets the hearts racing in a different manner than Torres with a shot that went narrowly wide.

62:00 – Busquest and Silva off and Nando and Navas on. Millions of hearts a fluttering now!

61:00 – Villa with a one on one but Benaglio comes out bravely and pushes it away.

60:00 – Switzerland content in giving away corners as they are a taller team and can handle the only aerial threat which is Pique.

55:00 – In a way Spain were lucky that was a goal, cause Pique would have been sent off for stopping it with his hands and Switzerland would have had a penalty. Spain need to send on Torres.

51:00 – GOOOOOOOOOAAAALLL. HOPP SUISSSSE. THE BANK IS OPEN! Route one football. Goal keeper boots it forward and Casillas is late too come out. People bundle over and Pique smothers the ball with his hand but Fernandes perserveres and knocks the ball in the back of the net. Switzerland 1 – Spain 0

48:00 – Iniesta looking mercurial behind the Spanish forwards but the rest not so much

Second half under under way

Halftime. Spain need to figure out how to break down this Swiss team as they are doing a great job of limiting the relentless spanish attack to half chances.

45:00 – What was Villa doing? A nice weaved attack by the three Spanish forward players as Villa gets the ball, stops on a dime sending his defender sprawling but instead of shooting at goal with the keeper rushing toward him, he tries to chip it to Silva and the ball goes long.

39:00 – Switzerland’s only form of attack is coming in the form of corners. They’re a tall team so set pieces are their many danger areas.

38:00 – Spain really need to come up with a plan B and or C. Not that it has to result in goals but it will hive Switzerland and other teams something to look at and make their Plan A so much more effective.

33:00 – The Swiss 6 yard box is beginning to look like a rugby scrum.

30:00 – Iniesta is released and charges toward the Swiss goal as he traps the ball but is softly fouled just outside the box. Villa thunders one but its the wall and goes out for a corner.

26:00 – Switzerland get an indirect free kick outside the Spanish box. Ziegler gets it on target but Casillas saves it comfortably.

24:00 – Pique up was in the box from a previous free kick gets fed a beautiful pass from Iniesta, as he controls it well and shoots but its blocked very well by Benaglio. Best chance so far.

22:00 – Switzerland opening up just a bit and not just in this soccer match!

15:00 – Pretty much the same old story with Spain sending wave upon wave of slick passes and clever runs toward the Swiss goal, but the Swiss defenders have been prepped well and are cutting anything out before it gets too dangerous.

8:00 – Switzerland content to let Spain attack down the wings as they flood the center of the pitch to stop the quick passing of the Barcelona duo Xavi and Iniesta.

3:00 – And Howard Webb blows the first whistle with a foul on Busquets. Xavi is over it but his ball into the box is cleared.

Not good enough? or still hurt ;)

TWEEEEEEEEEEET and Switzerland kick if off and immediately attack.

Growing up in Switzerland in the 80’s, I didn’t get much of a chance to ever see them play as they were terrible. So i watched a lot of the French, German, Spanish and Italian national teams as they were always on TV.

Now Switzerland have been in the past two cups and I have a soft spot for the land of cheese, cows, chocolate and clocks…sooooo HOPP SUISSE!


Torres and Fabregas on the bench. Why not. Who needs them? Well people, that is what is known as an embarrassment of riches.


Line ups

Spain (4-1-2-3) 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 16-Sergio Busquets; 8-Xavi, 14-Xabi Alonso; 21-David Silva, 7-David Villa, 6-Andres Iniesta.

Switzerland (4-4-2) 1-Diego Benaglio; 13-Stephane Grichting, 2-Stephan Lichtsteiner, 4-Philippe Senderos, 17-Reto Ziegler; 7-Tranquillo Barnetta, 8-Gokhan Inler, 6-Benjamin Huggel, 16-Gelson Fernandes; 19-Eren Derdiyok, 10-Blaise Nkufo.


And the last match of the opening round is upon us. Spain against Switzerland.

33 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/16 at 7:08 AM

    Everytime I see Ferando Torres with that haircut I think “Ronaldo’s little brother”


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/16 at 7:16 AM

    I thought was insulting Ronaldo. :>

    Switzerland’s back four look like they’re playing Red Rover. That is the narrowest I’ve seen anyone play Spain.

    Basically saying — you have have the 66% of the pitch on the outside flanks. We’re not going out there.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/16 at 7:18 AM

      I think this is the way to go until Spain prove they can score in other ways. Ramos’s effort though poor is a step in that direction


    • That’s exactly what the US did to Spain – that and pinning back Ramos. We basically provided the tactical framework to follow to defeat Spain and similar teams (Like Barcelona).

      Now, do Spain have a plan B or do they stick to Plan A?


      • Posted by Fireball on 2010/06/16 at 11:34 AM

        Anyone know why they kept going through Navas on the right instead of Pedro on the left? Navas ran out of ideas and was never getting the ball through the box. With no Ramos coming up with him, he had few options. Pedro was crossing and cutting and had Capdevila supporting him.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 9:00 AM

      Yep, what Tuesday said. The Swiss no doubt watched the US tape and played the same game plan perfectly.


  3. Posted by Johninho on 2010/06/16 at 8:09 AM

    Holy. Sh*t.

    That’s what you get, Spain, for not putting away OBVIOUS CHANCES.


  4. Posted by John on 2010/06/16 at 8:10 AM

    Wow. Switzerland. Soak, absorb, counter attack.


  5. Was it played as advantage? Pique should’ve been sent off anyways after the goal if it was a deliberate handball in the box intended to deny the goalscoring opportunity.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/16 at 8:20 AM

      Good point Tuesday. It was advantage i believe and it wasn’t deliberate as he fell on it but he did stop it from going in. Good refereeing.


      • I’ve got the ESPN 3 stream going but it’s not even worth it.


        • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/16 at 8:23 AM

          Univision i hear is much better and free!


        • Posted by John on 2010/06/16 at 8:33 AM

          Univision is amazing. The guys are awesome.

          This second half is fantastic!


        • Is this the future of the internet? Not enough bandwidth so everyone watching 5 seconds of HD video then 30 seconds of “loading”?


        • Posted by itally on 2010/06/16 at 8:38 AM

          I’ve been using espn3 for the entire tournament — without problems. I feel like I may be the only one who’s been so lucky!


        • Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/16 at 9:17 AM

          ESPN 3 has been great for me too. Full screen at highest quality most often with occasional dips in quality, but never buffered once so far in the tourney. Agree that it sounds more to do with your internet than with 3..


        • espn3 has been awesome for me, no issues, i find it actually streams better in full screen rather that small box that it starts off as. yall need to upgrade somthing.


        • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 9:27 AM

          Almost certainly your isp’s problem, not espn.
          Like soccernst refers to, you can watch espn3 full screen while unvision’s max isn’t even half that.


        • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 9:32 AM

          Also, I really like espn soccernet’s gamecast. You can easily watch all the highlights by mousing over the indicated shots on the “chalkboard”. It’s a very nice interface.


  6. Maybe it’s just that my internet is crap.


  7. Posted by John on 2010/06/16 at 8:44 AM

    Can Switzerland hang on…..


  8. Posted by John on 2010/06/16 at 8:53 AM

    What a terrible corner.


  9. Well, my Brazil v Spain in the Round of 16 prediction is looking a lot more likely today.


  10. Posted by itally on 2010/06/16 at 9:03 AM

    Uh, Lalas: “Switzerland just caught the biggest nut ever!”


  11. Still, through the first group match, that’s 9 of 16 results correct, only 2 correct scores for me.


  12. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/16 at 9:12 AM

    Looks like your article “It will rain tears of sorrow on the plains of Spain” was prophetic. Nicely done. Switzerland takes a page out of the US vs Spain playbook, yet Spain refused to adjust, continuing to pass their way into traffic and cross from wide. Switzerland’s arial dominance was superb, you knew spain was in trouble when they quit hitting cornerskicks into the box, but used it as an opportunity to pass. Kudos to TSG for the swiss assist!


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/16 at 9:48 AM

      Thanks, though i certainly didn’t expect that a team like Switzerland would be able to pull it off. There really isn’t anything wrong with Spain’s Plan A, it just needs variety to be effective. Am curious if Switzerland will try the same tactic against Chile


  13. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/16 at 11:19 AM

    If Barnetta scored that goal the headline would’ve been “Tranquillo Calms Spain”


  14. Posted by FulhamPete on 2010/06/16 at 11:51 AM

    I just glossed over these comments…but fielding Torres was a HUGE tactical mistake. He couldn’t do anything productive, and his final touches were exclusively giveaways.


    • Posted by sfshwebb on 2010/06/16 at 11:54 AM

      I don’t think it was a huge mistake as they needed something different. They needed an aerial threat as they were getting nothing from Silva who was doing nothing.

      Problem was that Torres hasn’t played in two months and you’re right, his touch was poor. I think they should have started him and and replaced him around 60 minutes to give him sometime on the ball.


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