World Cup: Group H Matchday Commentary

World Cup: Group H Matchday Commentary

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Group H Matchday Commentary

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Spainlogo Chile logo Honduraslogo Swisslogo

By AVI CREDITOR

The final series of group games contains plenty of suspense and drama, as tournament-favorite Spain tries to avoid being eliminated prior to the knockout stage.

La Furia Roja will meet group leader Chile (2:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com) in the marquee matchup of the group. The Chileans have impressed, and a win or a draw would not only put them through, but it would seal an unbeaten run through the group stage for the five South American teams.

CONCACAF representative Honduras is still technically alive as it meets Switzerland (2:30, ESPN2/ESPN3.com). Los Catrachos need to defeat the Swiss and hope Chile defeats Spain all while making up a goal differential of four. 

Future Seattle Sounder Blaise N'Kufo and the Swiss could advance with a win and by making up the necessary goal differential to surpass either Chile or Spain.

It all adds up to an unpredictable final day of group play. I'll be providing live commentary on Group H action, with a focus on the Spain-Chile match. Please feel free to follow along and share any thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the games (commentary after the jump).

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POSTGAME – That's all for me and the group stage. Thanks for following along, and get ready for all the U.S. men's national team coverage you can handle tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend!

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POSTGAME – Spain will meet Portugal in one Round-of-16 match, Brazil will face Chile in another. Wow. Those are two very enticing matchups.

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POSTGAME – Honduras did indeed earn a point, holding Switzerland to a 0-0 draw. Blaise N'Kufo, your charter to Seattle awaits.

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POSTGAME – Spain wasn't spectacular, but it got the result it needed. David Villa's goal was something else, and Iniesta's goal ended up being the winner. 

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90th Minute – David Silva just waited for about seven minutes to come on and he never could. Spain controlled the ball and never let it go out of bounds while letting the clock run down. There's the final whistle, and Spain has won Group H. 2-1 Spain. Chile will go through as well.

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90th Minute – Two minutes of added time. Spain backing off. This one's been over for a few minutes now. Odd ending.

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90th Minute – A late Spain goal and a late Switerland goal, and the Swiss are through…

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89th Minute – Spain goes for a third, Ramos crossing to Fabregas, but he whiffs on the shot. Marcelo Bielsa's heart rate just shot up.

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88th Minute – Both teams happy where they both stand. Spain happy to pass the clock out. Chile happy for Spain not to press and harm its goal differential. 

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84th Minute – How do you feel about Spain-Portugal and Brazil-Chile Round-of-16 matchups? We're six minutes from that being a reality.

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82nd Minute – Pace grinding to a halt as Spain passes the clock down. Ole!

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81st Minute – A couple of offside calls negate Chile attacks. La Roja still pushing for an equalizer.

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79th Minute – Ten minutes remain in Honduras' World Cup. It'd be a nice moral victory to earn the point against Switzerland. As of now it appears that two CONCACAF teams and five CONMEBOL teams will combine to take up seven of the final 16 spots.

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77th Minute – Busquets whistled for a foul that Paredes appeared to commit. Fair enough. Chile's gotten its reckless behavior in check this half.

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76th Minute – Paredes with a long-range shot that goes well left. Casillas hasn't been tested in a while.

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75th Minute – Martinez has a chip deflected right at Bravo. Not a bad first touch.

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73rd Minute – Villa bends his run to stay onside and darts down the left, but his cross for Xavi is hit a little too far.

Javier Martinez on for Xabi Alonso for Spain.

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71st Minute – Ramos with a great run down the right. He goes a Jara with pace and puts it through his legs, but eventually loses it out off the endline.

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70th Minute – Alexander Frei has come on for Blaise N'Kufo as Switzerland seeks a winning goal. Still 0-0.

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69th Minute – Medel clears the corner.

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68th Minute – Villa acts as a one-man counterattack and he earns a corner while going at three defenders.

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67th Minute – No more subs left for Chile, which is in good shape to advance as things currently stand.

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65th Minute – Alexis Sanchez off for Fabian Orellana.

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65th Minute – Villa and Isla in a footrace in the Chile box, and Isla touches it out for a corner.

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64th Minute – Iniesta with a dangerous run to the endline, but his cross is headed away. Spain bringing the heat now.

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63rd Minute – Xavi with a great chip into Villa in the box, but Ponce did well to defend the chance. Seems like it's only a matter of time until Villa scores again.

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62nd Minute – Fabregas slides Villa through on goal again, but Villa can't control it with his first touch. The Fabregas sub was a fantastic move.

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60th Minute – Villa tries to volley a Fabregas chip from close range, but he whiffs. Better from Barcel..I mean Spain. Starting to reclaim the possession battle.

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58th Minute – Spain's up a man, but you wouldn't know it based on how the game is unfolding. Chile's attack doesn't seem hampered by the disadvantage.

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57th Minute – Still nil-nil with Switzerland-Honduras. Spain and Chile would be through in that order if things stay the same. 

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55th Minute – Fernando Torres comes off for Cesc Fabregas. Not a great night from Torres, as his touch was noticeably off. Fabregas should help Spain reclaim possession control.

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54th Minute – Villa doing a great job to track back and help Capdevila keep tabs on Sanchez.

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52nd Minute – Villa sends a cross through the box, but Bravo snares it at the top of the 6-yard box.

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51st Minute – That goal puts the pressure on Switzerland now. Even a 1-0 Swiss win would let Chile through because of the goal differential. Swiss need to press and hope that Spain can tack on another goal.

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49th Minute – Spain coming out of halftime flat. Chile's down a man and two goals and you let them dictate the action? Not the right mindset to have.

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48th Minute – The substitute was left open at the top of the penalty area, and it deflected off Pique to leave Casillas with no chance. WOW. Game back on. Somehow.

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47th MinuteGOAL MILLAR!!! 2-1! WHAT A SHOT FOR CHILE!

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46th Minute – Millar whiffs on his first chance after Sanchez sets him up in the area. That could've made things interesting.

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46th Minute – Esteban Paredes and Rodrigo Millar replace Valdivia and Gonzalez for Chile. 

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HALFTIME – What'd you all think of the first half? Think 10-man Chile can get back a goal or two?

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HALFTIME – Chile's hopes to advance are hanging by a thread. If Switzerland can take the lead in its game, Chile will be in huge trouble. A 1-0 Swiss victory, combined with this current result, would put the Europeans into the knockout stage. Right now, Chile and Switzerland are level on goal differential. 

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HALFTIME – Villa's out-of-the-ordinary strike really changed the outlook for both teams. Spain had not been at its best and Chile was pressing offensively, but once Villa scored, Spain turned it on.

Iniesta's finish was clinical, and Chile is paying for some undisciplined play.

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45th Minute – There's the halftime whistle. 2-0 Spain. What an interesting half of soccer.

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45th Minute – Ponce with another hard challenge from behind on Xabi Alonso. That could've been HIS second yellow of the match. Reckless challenges left and right from Chile. Very undisciplined. 

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45th Minute – Halftime for Switzerland-Honduras. 0-0.

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45th Minute – Two minutes of stoppage time. Halftime can't come soon enough for Chile.

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44th Minute – Spain can try and settle in and lull Chile to sleep with its passing. It wasn't sharp to start, but with the confidence of having a two-goal lead, Spain is back to doing what it does best.

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42nd Minute – Chile's pushing forward nicely. The pace of Gonzalez and Beausejour on the left and Sanchez on the right makes the Chileans dangerous, even with 10 men.

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41st Minute – Spain is in total control. Chile's got to hope that Switzerland stays scoreless.

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40th Minute – For what it's worth, Estrada should've been sent off for his previous tackle on Iniesta, so it evens out.

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38th Minute – Chile is coming apart at the seams. First, Villa, from the left, found Iniesta at the top of the box, and the Barcelona star slotted a low shot into the bottom right corner.

During the build-up Estrada accidentally tripped up Torres, but it was ruled intentional. Second yellow. Red. Chile's down to 10 men. WOW. Chile is in some serious trouble.

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37th MinuteGOAL SPAIN!! ANDRES INIESTA WITH THE FINISH! 2-0 SPAIN!

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35th Minute – WOW Torres almost draws a penalty. I thought he did. Vidal with an obvious shove in the area, but the referee rules it's clean shoulder-to-shoulder contact. No way.

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34th Minute – Beausejour into the side netting!! Pique gets back just in time to alter the shot, but Chile nearly equalized.

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34th Minute – Pique gets a free header but he can't keep it down. Wow.

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34th Minute – Iniesta looks to be moving just fine as he wins a Spain corner.

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32nd Minute – Chile living dangerously with just three in the back. That makes them very susceptible to the Spain counterattack, which is quite lethal.

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30th Minute – Sanchez works out of a double-team to win a corner. He's been very impressive this World Cup.

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29th Minute – Villa tracks back and fouls Sanchez as Chile seeks an equalizer. Both Chile and Spain would be through with the current scorelines of both matches. Still 0-0 for Honduras and Switzerland.

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28th Minute – Villa skies a 30-yard free kick. What do the Japanese know that nobody else does?

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27th Minute – Estrada gets away with what should've been his second yellow card for a hard challenge on Iniesta. Action has picked up.

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27th Minute – So he can't hit the target on a PK, but he's spot-on from incredible distance. Go figure.

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25th Minute – Xabi Alonso's long pass down the left put Torres seemingly in on goal. Bravo came WAY out of the box to slidetackle the ball away, but he hit it right to Villa on the left sideline. Villa put a masterful touch on the ball and slotted it into an empty net. What a goal, and what a relief for Spain.

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25th MinuteGOAL SPAIN!!! DAVID VILLA INTO AN EMPTY NET FROM 45 YARDS! 1-0 SPAIN!!

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24th Minute – Pique stands tall and heads away the free kick.

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23rd Minute – Beausejour with another menacing run on the left and Ramos impedes his path by fouling him. Dangerous free kick on the left, 25 yards out.

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22nd Minute – Chile's been the better team in the early going. After Spain's quick start, the Europeans have looked out of sync. The passing hasn't been sharp, and Chile is taking the game to them.

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21st Minute – Marco Estrada with an awful challenge from behind that Busquets absorbs, and Estrada picks up Chile's third yellow card in the first 21 minutes.

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19th Minute – Yellow card for Ponce for a post-whistle kick to Torres. Foolish, foolish play. That's his second yellow of the group stage, and if Chile advances to the knockout stage, Waldo Ponce will not be available for the Round-of-16 match.

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17th Minute – Vidal throws himself in front of Torres to draw a foul deep in Chile territory. Head's-up play. Chile takes over.

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15th Minute – First card of the match as Gary Medel trips up Busquets. Harsh yellow. Julian Rodriguez Santiago is the referee.

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14th Minute – Sanchez lofts a ball toward the far upper 90 and Casillas doesn't know what to do with it. He punches it away for a corner instead of making the catch.

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14th Minute – No score in either match. As things currently stand, Chile and Spain are through.

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13th Minute – Chile turning the tables and applying the pressure now. These are two very attack-minded and able teams.

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12th Minute – Estrada tests Casillas from distance, but the keeper dives to make a straightforward catch.

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10th Minute – Gonzalez can't put home a Beausejour cross! The ball was a bit behind him as the timing was a fraction off. Fortunate break for Spain.

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10th Minute – Chile elects not to shoot, and Spain takes possession before a counterattack stalls out.

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9th Minute – Valdivia draws a foul on Puyol, and Chile will have a 30-yard free kick chance.

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7th Minute – Exactly what we expected. End-to-end action, though Spain is controlling the run of play to start.

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6th Minute – Isla and Medel with their hands full early on. Chile is fortunate to have not conceded yet.

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5th Minute – WOW Torres misses a GOLDEN chance. Capdevila with a very long ball that takes a perfect bounce for Torres, but his shot is barely deflected out for a corner.

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4th Minute – An early chance for Torres. Xavi's 40-yard free kick puts Torres in on goal, but his header is off-target.

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3rd Minute – Pace back and forth as Sanchez completes a great run after holding possession.

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2nd Minute – Torres can't control on his first touch, and Chile has an early throw-in.

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1st Minute – La Roja vs. La Furia Roja (even though it's more like La Furia Azul with those jerseys today) is underway.

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PREGAME – Andres Iniesta is back in Vicente del Bosque's lineup, and he's a game-changer.

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PREGAME – The big question for Chile-Spain is how will the Chileans' style match up with Spain's? Chile's free-flowing ways could play right into Spain's hands, and if there isn't enough cover in the back, the South Americans could be in trouble.

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PREGAME – Here are the lineups for the Switzerland-Honduras match:

SWITZERLAND

————N'Kufo————-Derdiyok————

–Fernandes——Inler—–Huggel——Barnetta–

–Ziegler–Grichting–von Bergen–Lichtsteiner–

————————-Benaglio———————-

HONDURAS

———–J. Palacios——Suazo————-

–Nunez–Thomas–W. Palacios–Alvarez–

–Sabillon–Figueroa–Chavez–Bernardez–

———————Valladares—————-

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PREGAME – Here are the lineups for the Spain-Chile match:

SPAIN

————–Villa—–Torres————

—Xavi—Busquets—Alonso—Iniesta—

–Capdevila—Pique—-Puyol—Ramos–

——————-Casillas—————–

CHILE

–Beausejour–Valdivia–Sanchez–

–Gonzalez–Vidal–Estrada–Isla–

–Jara———Ponce———-Medel–

——————Bravo—————-

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