Saturday, June 26, 2010

Group H Decided! Viva Espana And Red Hot Chile Advance

As in Group G, Group H showcased Spain taking on Chile in their final group match. Chile had impressed throughout the group phase with the vibrant attacking style and also their determination. Spain however hadn't been playing at their best and therefore the match against Chile was potentially an elimination match. The matchup between La Roja and La Furia Roja turned out to be an excellent showpiece of attacking football at its best.

Vicente Del Bosque had to endure criticism about his tactics for Luis Aragones but in the end, he had the last laugh as Spain put together their best performance in the group matches to register three points against Chile. David Villa leapt to joint top of the World Cup scorers leader board when he netted a 40 yard goal after Chile goalie Bravo tried unsuccessfully to clear a Torres danger. Villa then created an opening for Iniesta who scored a sublime second goal. Speaking of Torres, he again looked out of sorts. El Nino's touch remained very heavy and his reflexes very slow, he looks like he is in need of a good holiday with Olala and Nora.

Chile, under orders from Bielsa I assumed, were intent on roughing up the Spaniards. Perhaps Marcelo Bielsa felt that the only way for his young Chilean side to get on top of La Furia Roja was to dish out some hard tackles in midfield. There was a price to pay of course for this tactic. Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce will both miss the match against Brazil and they will be sorely missed. So, the net result for El Loco's tactics is the loss of Chile's two best defenders, not what I would call a successful tactical plan. La Roja did get thances but their rash finishing did not help. It was to be a great night for Spain who is now back to their best, even Pique emerged unscathed.

Once again, the main Chile concern will be if Humberto Suazo can get match fit before Monday. Chile needs a goalscorer to finish off all those wonderful moves they create and Suazo is such a person. Mati Fernandez will be back and together with Alexis Sanchez, these two will be expected to provide the ammunition for Suazo.

Switzerland could have made it the last 16 if they had won by two goals against Honduras. Unfortunately, the Schweizer Nati does not have a potent strike force. The highly rated Eren Derdiyok could not reproduce any of the form that brought him 12 goals in the German Bundesliga. Conversely, Diego Bernaglio has proven himself to be a goalkeeper of the highest quality. The Wolfsburg stopper showed why there is keen interest in him all around Europe. Honduras in all fairness, acquitted themselves very well in their first World Cup appearance

Finally great matches are in store, Spain plays Portugal in a mouthwatering tie - Europe's best attack against Europe's best defence. Chile square up against their South American neighbours, Brazil - Latin American flair at its best.

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