Group H Final Redux: Chile Burns Themselves, Swiss Fade to Black

26 June 2010

Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner (L) and Xherdan Shaqiri are dejected after a missed chance. (Credit Image: © Action Images/ZUMApress.com)
Group H ended with both a whimper and a bang. Chile/Spain produced all the fireworks, while Honduras made sure Switzerland’s chance at making the knockout stages faded away.

Chile will feel unfortunate to not have not gained at least gained a draw against Spain. Even after going down a man, they were very confident in their abilities, and their manager had no problem withdrawing a defender in hopes of getting the two goals required. While Millar got one heck of a lucky deflection on his effort quickly into the second half, it was deserved. Not many teams have the guts to actually go after Spain in the attack; and not only did they do so, they succeeded in the process. Had it not been for Claudio Bravo’s moment of stupidity in the twenty-fourth minute that led to a David Villa lob wedge shot right into an empty net, I doubt Chile would have pressed as much as they did afterwards.

Once the hour mark came and went, the game really descended into nothing more than a training session. Chile ran out of gas, didn’t attack too often, and allowed Spain to have the ball at distance. Spain were more than happy to take this, knowing this would leave them in first place. The only thing Chile has to worry about now are the number of players they will be missing in the round of sixteen. It will only make their task against Brazil that much harder.

Meanwhile, all Switzerland had to do is break down Honduras, which is something they completely failed to do. In fact, they were second best most of the match. Honduras’s shape was the best it had been all World Cup, and they were able to counter attack at will. Had Honduras been able to take advantage of Switzerland’s lack of speed at the back, they could have had at least three goals. Switzerland, to their discredit, were too slow in building their attack, and had no final product. With their defensive lines breeched whenever Honduras felt like attacking, Switzerland opened themselves up more in the attack, and looked more useless in the process.

After beating Spain to open the group, Switzerland looked totally worthless. While their shape was good, their attack was as poor, if not poorer than Honduras’s. Even with the inclusion of Hakin Yakin and Alexander Frei, they looked like the same old Switzerland they were in the first half. With as many free kicks as the Swiss had in dangerous places, they didn’t even threaten Valladares.

Switzerland’s World Cup ends with a lot of regret…the regret of not attacking more when they had the chance. Had they done so, they just might be in the round of sixteen today.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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