Monday, June 21, 2010

Mark Gonzalez' Heads La Roja To The Top Of Group H

Chile went about their business of playing progressive football, with the midfield and attack showing a lot of movement and quick passing. When Behrami got himself sent off, La Roja increased the tempo and the Swiss found it harder and harder to cope with the speedy Chileans.

Despite Chile's profligacy in front of goal, the breakthrough finally came when Parades was put through on goal. He beat the keeper and floated the ball to the far post for former Liverpool winger, Gonzalez to head home. It was exactly what Chile deserved for all the attacking verve they had shown in this game.

Bielsa had earlier made three substitution, bringing on Valdivia, Gonzalez and then Parades. All three substitutes were instrumental in helping La Roja increase the pressure on the well-organized Swiss defence. Chile forwards kept getting caught for offside and credit must be given to the well-drilled Schweizer Nati.

The much heralded Humberto Suazo made his appearance in this game but he did not look match fit. Marcelo Bielsa realised Suazo's ineffectiveness and reverted to the team that beat Honduras five days ago. The change was a success as Valdivia quickly made his presence felt. El Mago was the architect of Chile's best moves in the second half. He supplied the through ball to Esteban Paredes to cross for the Gonzalez' header.

A card-happy referee increased the tension in the match, with Swiss players trying to get Chilean players booked or sent off to compensate for Behrami's dismissal. This was the only sore point in a thrilling and absorbing match. Bielsa is poised to make amends for Argentina's shock exit in 2002 as Chile look for a draw against Spain to advance into the last 16.

La Roja's inability to finish off opponents is a real worry. This weakness will prove to be their undoing in the knock out stages. With better finishing composure and pass selection, Chile could have put the match beyond doubt. Nevertheless, it could be a matter of time before the skillful La Roja score a bucketload against their opposition.

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