Hosts' heart broken, Switzerland stuns Spain

08:20, June 17, 2010      

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It was a stunning day in the ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup as hosts South Africa were whitewashed by Uruguay 3-0 on Wednesday night and European champions Spain lost to Switzerland 1-0 in the afternoon.

Switzerland's team celebrate their victory over Spain after the 2010 World Cup Group H match in Durban, South Africa, June 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Liao Yujie)

Uruguay's star striker Diego Forlan broke millions of South African hearts when he scored a cracker of a long range goal in the 24th minute to put his team ahead of Bafana Bafana in their second Group A match in Pretoria.

The wound deepened when South Africa's goalie Itumeleng Khune was red-carded for a foul on Luiz Suarez in the penalty area in the 76th minute. Forlan took the penalty to make it 2-0 for Uruguay. A 94th minute goal by Alvaro Pereira made the final score 3-0.

Stephan Lichtsteiner (top) of Switzerland vies for the ball during the 2010 World Cup Group H match against Spain in Durban, South Africa, June 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Liao Yujie)

Uruguay's victory forces South Africa to beat France in their last remaining group match on June 22 if they are to avoid becoming the first-ever World Cup host nation to be eliminated in the first round. South Africa tied Mexico 1-1 in the World Cup opener.

In Durban, Gelson Fernandes' charge before the net awarded Switzerland a historic 1-0 win over Spain in their Group H opener. This was the most unexpected result in the first round group matches.

Switzerland never beat Spain in its past 18 attempts, managing only three draws.

Fernandes, the midfielder of France's Saint-Etienne, stunned the spectators in the 52nd minute when a long ball was flicked back by Eren Derdiyok like a blitz.

The move lured Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas to charge forward. His wrong timing left Barcelona defender Gerard Pique to clear the threat and made the man finally fall down, enabling Fernandes to slot it into the empty net.

Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said "You definitely need a bit of luck to beat a team like Spain, but we started very concentratedly."

His Spanish peer Vicente del Bosque said "Today we did not show our true team personality. It's not a good sign to start the tournament like this, but we have to cope with it."

Actually, Spain totally controled the game with their amazing skills, pace and composure, forcing the Swiss to chase the ball in most of the time. However, their countless shots were unbelievably poor. Swiss only had two chances but they cashed one.

In Nelspruit, Chile, who finished second behind Brazil in the CONMEBOL region, were wasteful in attack in their World Cup Group H opener, only edging minnows Honduras 1-0.

"I think we deserved the win, though we should have scored more goals," said Bielsa, coach of Chile. "We'll try to win the next game because the objective is to pass to the next round and start writing new records."

Sergio Ramos of Spain walks off the pitch after the 2010 World Cup Group H match against Switzerland in Durban, South Africa, June 16, 2010. (Xinhua/Liao Yujie)

"Now we have to knuckle down and improve for the coming matches against Spain and Switzerland," said Alexis Mendoza, assisting coach of Honduras, as their coach Reinaldo Rueda had been suspended by FIFA.

In the 34th minute, Chilean midfielder Jorge Valdivia threaded the ball behind the back of the defence to teammate Mauricio Isla, whose cut-back was bundled home by forward Jean Beausejour.

Both teams did not play in a conservative way. Attackings and counter-attackings were full of the game. Chile looked superior in pace and teamwork.

Today's duel was the one of the most one-sided matches of this World Cup since Germany hammered Australia 4-0. But the dominating Chile squandered too many chances to only finish with a 1-0 victory.

Source: Xinhua
Special Report: World Cup 2010


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