The Spaniards appear to have fully exorcised the ghosts of their first-round loss to the cuckoo-clock makers. As they walked over the Chileans in a confident manner, their supremacy was never in doubt. The match ended Spain 2, Chile 1.
Although they lacked any margin of error before the match started, the Spaniards appeared sure of themselves, and played a game befitting of the quality team they are. Their combinations are precise and bewildering to their opposition; their drilling of their opponent’s defences feels effortless and almost easy. Their game, similar to the Brazilians, is one of continuous attack and they wish to score more goals then their opposition rather than conceding less than the other side. Their goals were clever, cool shots that check-mated the badly-positioned keeper.
Spain is now set to play finals-before-finals against much-fancied Portugal in Cape Town on Tuesday. We have a feeling they should win that game. Their form is on the up and it appears they have finally forgotten the Swiss loss. David Villa is in a great form, and is being ably helped by the rest of the attack. And they will be able to field their best team, as they’ve rather unbelievably managed to play three World Cup games without getting a single yellow card.
Even if they were outclassed by Spain, Chile still deserve to qualify from Group H. They are far better team than Switzerland, which couldn’t defeat Honduras on Friday night. Switzerland are a good team, but their attack is simply not good enough. Their defence was really of world class quality and they are feisty and gritty, but Chile are simply a much better, more rounded team than the mountain people.
Just one last kick for Honduras as they exit: they join Algeria as the only two sides to exit the World Cup without scoring a single goal. We won’t miss them.
Here the reporter’s notes from the Spain vs Chile game.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Puyol, Arbeloa, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Busquets, Andres Iniesta Lujan, David Villa, Fernando Torres
Chile: Jorge Valdivia, Mauricio Isla, Marco Estrada Quinteros, Claudio Bravo Munoz, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, Arturo Vidal Pardo, Waldo Ponce, Gary Medel, Jean Beausejour Coliqueo, Mark Gonzalez Hoffman, Alexis Sanchez Barbe
Man of the match
Before the match
Spanish striker David Villa can consider himself lucky for not receiving a suspension after he slapped a Honduran player but was not punished by the referee. Fifa’s disciplinary commission decided there was no ground for opening the inquiry, which is rather surprising, because just about 1 billion people saw Villa’s offence.
It will be a tough match for both teams. The Chilean defence is yet to concede a goal at this World Cup, but then again, they haven’t yet played against an attacking force as powerful as Spain’s.
Spain has spent most of the opening time in the Chilean half and they are plainly committed to attacking, which only makes sense because anything less than a win will see them crash out.
Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez warns Chilean goalkeeper Bravo about time wasting. Is it possible that Chile is thinking already about wanting a draw?
Great game from both sides. They play, compete and enjoy it. A great difference from terribly disappointing Brazil vs Portugal game.
To make things worse for Chile, Estrada gets a second yellow card, turned into a red card, after clipping Torres’s back heel in the same move that saw Spain’s second goal being scored. Bad times for Chile: they are two goals and one man down. Their mountain to climb just became very, very high. Almost impossibly high.
Photo: Fans wait for the start of a 2010 World Cup Group H match between Spain and Chile at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 25, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Since Spain’s second goal, the rhythm has slowed down considerably. Chile is probably looking for the safe haven of half time while Spain is also in need of rest after a thoroughly engaging and fighting half.
End of the first half.
Chile will need a miracle here. The way things are, their best bet is to hope that Honduras will somehow stop Switzerland, in the other Group H game, which at the time of this writing is still 0-0. But as we know, waiting for others to save you is never a good place to be.
Chile are simply not threatening and will have problems creating any chances. They are either tired, or they are simply playing against a much better side. Your choice.
By Branko Brkic
Photo: Spain’s Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring against Chile during a 2010 World Cup Group H match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 25, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason." ~ Thomas Paine