Switzerland pulled off a shock of the World Cup so far as they beat European champions Spain 1-0. Gelson Fernandes was the hero for Switzerland as his goal in the 52nd minute ended Spain’s run of 12 straight wins and handed Spain only its second loss in 50 games. The win was Switzerland’s first ever against Spain.
It will be extremely difficult for Spain to now win this group and if they come in second, they will probably meet Brazil in the Round of 16 now.
Spain dominated possession throughout the match, but could find no way through a very solid Switzerland defense that has now gone 490 minutes without conceding a World Cup goal (going back to the 2002 World Cup).
Eren Derdiyok created Switzerland’s goal by surging through the center of Spain’s defense and getting around goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Gerard Pique’s tackle stopped Derdiyok, but Fernandes pounced on the loose ball and forced it into the net.
It could have been worse for the Spanish as Derdiyok nearly doubled the Swiss lead in the 75th minute but his shot hit the post.
The closest Spain came to scoring was when Xabi Alonso thunderbolt from just outside the box in the 70th minute hit the cross bar.
This was far from a vintage performance by Spain. They initially went with Villa as a lone forward, but they looked so much more dangerous when Fernando Torres and Jesus Navas came on in the second half. Torres and Villa combined well, and Navas was a constant threat to the Swiss defence.
Spain’s coach Vicente Del Bosque was not impressed with the Swiss performance saying:
“They played a defensive game and tried to take advantage of any counter-attack and dead-ball situation. I feel it’s an excessive prize for them considering the football they displayed. They did play well in defence. We came for the win and this time it has escaped us.”
Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld naturally has a different opinion on his team famous victory saying:
“I am very satisfied with my team’s performance. Our aim was to have two compact lines behind our strikers as we didn’t want to lose too much energy fighting for the ball. We wanted to focus on our defence and wait for the counter attack. We concentrated and were organised from the start. We didn’t allow any chances for Spain in the first half and that gave us self-confidence. In the second half, Spain rolled one attack after another and we knew they would open their defence. After we took the lead, we gained even more confidence.”
Next up for Spain is a game against Honduras on Monday. Honduras lost 1-0 to Chile today while Switzerland plays Chile in a game that will see the winner advance to the knockout stages.