World Cup Redux Group H: Behrami's Foolishness, Chile's Luck, Spain Back To Normal

22 June 2010

Switzerland's Valon Behrami (L) is sent off by referee Khalil Al Ghamdi (R) (Credit Image: © Action Images/
While Behrami Was Correctly Sent Off, Chile Are Lucky To Get 3 Points Against Switzerland
Let’s make no bones about it; Valon Behrami was a fool. After getting away with a flailing arm on Jean Beausejour not a second earlier, his need to take Arturo Vidal away from the ball was a red card offense.
What’s sad about it was how Arturo Vidal got the referee’s and lineman’s attention. Vidal was well on his way to earning Switzerland a free kick with his antics from behind already, but Behrami felt he shouldn’t have tried in the first place. Behrami swung the arm out twice; the second time he made sure to take Vidal off the ball. His arm ended up around the shoulder, throwing him off the ball.
At that point, Vidal decided to pull an acting job only slightly better than Keita’s on Sunday. The referee thought about it for a few seconds, then flashed the red card. Vidal looked completely satisfied with himself, while the rest of the Swiss squad complained about the nature of the red.
What’s sad about it was had Behrami not had a moment of madness, he was sure to win a free kick. With the referee happy to hear the sound of his own whistle, it wouldn’t have been too long after Vidal’s challenge before the Swiss would have had a chance off a free kick to whip the ball into the box.
After that, Chile were very fortunate. After Sanchez saw his free kick goal correctly disallowed for offside, Switzerland did what they do best: frustrate the opposition with their stout defense. Benaligo even got in on the act when he denied Sanchez 1 v 1 in the fifty-fifth. However, when a man down, even the best defending can be undone, and in the seventy-fifth before Chile finally got their goal. Parades looked marginally offside, but live he looked level when he was sprung from midfield. If there was anyone who made a mistake here, it was the Swiss keeper. Had he stayed on his line, I don’t think this happens. However, when Benaligo came out, Parades easily rounded him and found Gonzalez. Though leave it to Chile to make it more difficult on themselves, as the only shot Gonzalez had was to head it in off the ground.
I feel for Switzerland here. After doing everything right down a man, they had their chance. Chile screwed themselves by not paying attention off a short free kick, and left Derdiyok all alone from twelve yards out. After a couple of passes, the substitute for N’Kufo had a clean shot on goal, and also had Claudio Bravo leaning the wrong way. He took his chance at the far post and missed it completely. If there was justice in this world, it would have gone in. It was nothing more than they deserved in this match.

When One Can’t Get a Shot On Goal, David Villa Gets Spain Three Points
Spain needed to prove to the world that the Switzerland loss was no fluke. In this instance, they got the perfect opponent in Honduras. When it was all said and done, Honduras couldn’t threaten Casillas once over the course of the 90 minutes. Meanwhile, David Villa got to show off in the World Cup…on both sides of the spectrum.
The only thing Spain can be upset about is that they didn’t win by more. With Honduras effectively pinned in their defensive eighteen for the large majority of the match, Spain had free reign at Noel Valladares. It didn’t take long for them to start the assault. Eighteen minutes in, David Villa’s curling effort into the far post made Osman Chavez wish he had tried to close down sooner. Then, six minutes into the second half, David Villa was given all day to shoot. When you give someone an open invitation during hunting season, they won’t miss. However, if there was one thing Villa would want back, it was his wide right penalty kick just after the hour mark.
Spain are truly a work in progress that looks close to its intended goal. Fernando Torres looks to be near the form we all remembered him fondly for at Liverpool. The midfield looked like they could cope without Iniesta in the lineup, though I don’t know if I would trust this result to be the full proof of that.
Honduras have looked way too star struck at this World Cup. Even with guys like Wilson Palacios on their squad, they just look happy to be here, and ready for their hell to be over. They have looked severely outmatched in every sense of the word in the first two games, and that’s before having to take on a Switzerland side that will give them a false sense of hope before countering them to victory.


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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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