Swiss pull off shock win over Spain
World Cup favourites Spain crashed to a shock 1-0 defeat to unfancied Switzerland in their opening game of the tournament on Wednesday.
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A rock solid defence and a tremendous goalkeeping effort from
Diego Benaglio saw the Swiss take the lead in the 51st minute
through Gelson Fernandes and sustain wave after wave of pressure to
hold on for the win in the Group H clash.
The victory was Switzerland's first-ever over Spain in 19 games
dating back 85 years.
"It is a historic victory," said Switzerland's German coach
"We haven't beaten Spain for such a long time. We have taken a
step towards the second round, but now more will be expected of us.
We have to remain attentive and focussed," added the 61-year-old,
one of only three coaches to have won the Champions League with two
His Spanish counterpart Vicente Del Bosque said that his side
had done evrrything but score.
"We did all that was possible but we lacked accuracy where it
mattered," said the former Real Madrid coach.
"They then caught us on the counter-attack. Now, we have to
rediscover our motivation.
Fernandes' scrambled goal was exactly the type pundits said the
Swiss might score against a Spanish team whose slick passing game
failed to convert territory and overwhelming possessional advantage
into anything concrete.
A long, straight goalkick was picked up by striker Eren
Derdiyok, whose path was blocked by an onrushing Iker Casillas.
In the melee, the ball squirted into the path of defender Gerard
Pique who fell as he twisted trying to clear the ball, and the Cape
Verde-born Fernandes was left with the easiest of tap-ins.
Derdiyok could have made it two for the Swiss but saw his prod
with the outside of his foot rebound off the post in the 74th
Spain will be left kicking themselves after dominating much of
open play, while Vicente Del Bosque's selection policy will be
questioned after the positive impact of strikers Jesus Navas and
Fernando Torres off the bench.
But the Spanish, fielding the backbone of the side that won Euro
2008, did have their chances.
In the first tame 45 minutes, Pique's shot was parried by
Benaglio, and David Villa made a real hash of a cross rather than
Benaglio, who saw key Fulham defender Philippe Senderos limp off
with an ankle injury after half an hour, was tested more as Spain
pressed in the second-half after going behind to Fernandes' goal.
In short succession, Villa was thwarted by a diving Benaglio,
Andres Iniesta saw a curling effort miss the posts by a metre, and
Torres twisted and fired high and wide.
Alonso then saw a 30-yard bullet of a strike come back off the
woodwork with Benaglio well beaten. Navas had a shot well saved by
the Swiss keeper and went narrowly wide shortly after.
But the Swiss, often playing with nine of their 10 outfield
players behind the ball, held on for the historic win and gave
themselves hope of progressing to the second round, as they did
four years ago in Germany.
Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 21-David Silva, 14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi, 16-Sergio Busquets, 6-Andres Iniesta, 7-David Villa.
Switzerland: 1-Diego Benaglio; 13-Stephane Grichting, 2-Stephan Lichtsteiner, 4-Philippe Senderos, 17-Reto Ziegler; 7-Tranquillo Barnetta, 8-Gokhan Inler, 6-Benjamin Huggel, 16-Gelson Fernandes; 19-Eren Derdiyok, 10-Blaise Nkufo.
Referee: Howard Webb (England)