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Swiss make history, upset Spain

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Spain players react after Switzerland's Fernandes scored during the 2010 World Cup Group H match

World Cup favourites Spain crashed to a shock 1-0 defeat to unfancied Switzerland in their opening game of the tournament here today.

A rock-solid defence and a tremendous goalkeeping effort from Diego Benaglio saw the Swiss take the lead in the 51st minute through Gelson Fernandes and sustain wave after wave of pressure to hold on for the win in the Group H clash.

The victory was Switzerland's first-ever over Spain in 19 games dating back 85 years. 

Fernandes' scrambled goal was exactly the type pundits said the Swiss might score against a Spanish team whose slick passing game failed to convert territory and overwhelming possessional advantage into anything concrete.

A long, straight goalkick was picked up by striker Eren Derdiyok, whose path was blocked by an onrushing Iker Casillas.

Swiss gambled by starting with Senderos but...

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Switzerland's Philippe Senderos greets team mate Steve Von Bergen after the former was substituted

Switzerland gambled by starting with Philippe Senderos but the former Arsenal defender had to be substituted by Steve Von Bergen inside the opening half.

But Senderos, who plays for Fulham now, limped off with an ankle injury after half an hour.

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.

Eren Derdiyok could have made it two for the Swiss but saw his prod with the outside of his foot rebound off the post in the 74th minute.

Benaglio was the star of the show

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Spain's David Villa jumps for the ball next to Switzerland's Reto Ziegler as goalkeeper Diego Benaglio looks on

Spain will be left kicking themselves after dominating much of open play, while Vicente Del Bosque's selection policy  will be questioned after the positive impact of strikers Jesus Navas and Fernando Torres off the bench. 

But the Spanish, fielding the backbone of the side that won Euro 2008, did have their chances. 

In the first tame 45 minutes, Pique's shot was parried by Benaglio, and David Villa made a real hash of a cross rather than shooting. 

Benaglio was tested more as Spain pressed in the second-half after going behind to Fernandes' goal.

In short succession, Villa was thwarted by a diving Benaglio, Andres Iniesta saw a curling effort miss the posts by a metre, and Torres twisted and fired high and wide.

It wasn't our day: Del Bosque

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Spain's Torres and Navas listen to coach Del Bosque before coming on during the 2010 World Cup Group H match against Switzerland

Striker Fernando Torres came on as a 62nd minute double substitution with Jesus Navas for Spain after the tournament favourites went 1-0 behind to Switzerland in their opening World Cup Group H match on Wednesday.

Torres was declared fit after recovering from knee surgery but the coach opted to start the match with David Villa playing as a lone forward.

With the substitutions, Spain were playing with three strikers. But none made an impact. 

"We tried in an orthodox way and in an heroic way but we were not able to source. It wasn't our day. We dominated almost all the match," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.

"This defeat means that we have to win the other two (group) matches," he added.

Chile record first WC win in 48 years

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo celebrates with team mates after their win over Honduras

Meanwhile, 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 on Wednesday.

Chile's victory came 48 years to the day after they last won a World Cup match -- a 1-0 win in a third-place playoff against Yugoslavia on home soil in 1962.

This is the fifth World Cup they have been to since and in the previous four they played 13 matches without a win.

The Chileans, ranked 18th in the current FIFA rankings, started to find their bearing with a series of attacks after the early nerves and  dominated the opening session by enjoying territorial advantage.

To be honest it was pretty easy: Beausejour

Last updated on: June 16, 2010 22:23 IST
Chile's Jean Beausejour celebrates his goal with team mate Matias Fernandez during their 2010 World Cup Group H match against Honduras

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.

"To be honest it was pretty easy," said Beausejour, when asked about the way his side had defended. "Things didn't get very complicated at the back and there weren't too many problems in clearing the ball."

The Chileans have now conceded only one goal in their last seven matches, belying their reputation as a side whose strengths lie solely in attack.