Goals 1 Pretty Football 0

Posted: June 16, 2010 in World Cup
Tags: ,

Hop Suisse!

What a win that was, Switzerland masterfully executing a gameplan that restricted Spain to barely anything inside the penalty box, and a counter-attacking raid that brought the only goal of the game.

From what I saw, Spain dominated possession (as you expect) and their extremely good players had decent games. They did not play badly. Switzerland didn’t become Brazil 1970 over the course of the 90 minutes but they did enough and deserved their win. Passes don’t win matches.

It’s hard to know where this game ranks in the history of World Cup upsets. At least alongside Senegal beating France in 2002, although as it transpired that France side underperformed enormously (the champions didn’t score a goal in 3 group games, and went home) while Senegal progressed.

I very much doubt that this Spanish team will flop on that scale – indeed, they’ll probably still win the group – but that just makes it even tastier. This is a side that had lost once in 41 games prior to the World Cup, the reigning European champions and possessing a squad the majority of which would waltz into almost every other team here. Torres, Villa, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Fabregas, Navas, Ramos, Pique, Casillas, Reina, Capdevila, Silva, Puyol. It’s an unbelievable side, yet it wasn’t good enough.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that this Swiss win will lay down the blueprint for further defensive Mourinhoball that has been quite prevalent so far. But anyone saying anything about “anti-football” can shove it: that was bloody exciting to watch and anything that upsets the odds like that makes for great entertainment.

And of course, if Spain don’t win their group, it’s entirely possible that they’ll be playing Brazil in the next round…

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