World Cup: Spain vs. Switzerland (Match Day Commentary)

World Cup: Spain vs. Switzerland (Match Day Commentary)

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Spain vs. Switzerland (Match Day Commentary)

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Switzerland Spain
By TRAVIS CLARK

The World Cup has been starved for goals. With the last two teams set to kick off, can Spain — touted by many as favorites to hoist the Cup — reverse this trend when they take on Switzerland (ESPN, ESPN3, 10:00am)?

World Cup success has eluded La Furia Roja, and today will be their first test of how they live up to the hype. Fernando Torres starts on the bench, uncertain to see any action after his return from a long injury layoff. Andres Iniesta, another injury concern for the Spanish, is fit and in the starting lineup.

Swiss striker Alexander Frei misses out with an injury, a huge blow to their chances of springing an upset. Blaise Nkufo, set to join Seattle Sounders after the World Cup, starts up top for Switzerland.

I'll be providing live commentary here throughout the match. Be sure to leave all thoughts, comments and analysis after the jump. Enjoy the match.

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FINAL – That's all from me for today. Don't forget to keep checking in with SBI for all your World Cup-related news.

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FINAL – An emphatic defensive performance, akin to last year's result between the USA and Spain in the Confederations Cup, sees the Swiss spring the upset of the tournament. Spain back to square one, have to beat Chile and Honduras to ensure qualification. Group H is turned on its head.

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FINAL – Howard Webb blows the whistle on this one. MASSIVE RESULT for Switzerland, winning 1-0 over Spain. Celebration ensues on the field. What a shocker this one is. Gelson Fernandes with the scrappy game winner.

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95th minute – Seconds left, Spain can't get anything with crosses against this Swiss defense.

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94th minute – Yakin gets a yellow, setting up a dangerous free kick. Is this the moment?

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93rd minute – After a number of sketchy performances in goal during this World Cup, Swiss goalie Benalgio has been outstanding today.

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91st minute – Benaglio gets a yellow card for time wasting. Barnetta comes off, to be replaced by Eggimann.

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90th minute – Into stoppage time. They'll be five minutes.

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89th minute – Only a few minutes. Can Switzerland hold this lead?

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87th minute – Torres looks off the pace — shooting high, bad touches. Definitely rusty.

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87th minute – Switzerland soaking up the pressure as Spain searches in vain for a goal.

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85th minute – Spain are playing a a very high line in search of the equalizer, could that prove costly?

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83rd minute – Swiss get forward, win a corner but can't make anything of it. Torres spoils the counter with a strong touch.

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82nd minute – Barnetta shoots just high on the break. He's had a good game when he's seen the ball. Check out the swerve on that shot.

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80th minute – Pique getting forward already as Spain search for at least a point in this one.

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79th minute – Hakan Yakin coming in for Derdiyok, who had a great game, almost sealing the win for the Swiss.

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78th minute – A lot more width in the Spanish side, as Navas lashes a shot wide. This game is very reminiscent of the USA-Spain game from last year.

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77th minute – Pedro to come on for Iniesta. How will he rise to meet the challenge of the World Cup?

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76th minute – Iniesta down after a hard challenge from Lichtsteiner, who blocked Iniesta's shot.

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74th minute – Now the Swiss miss! Derdiyok denied by the post on a brilliant move in the box.

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74th minute – Chance for Spain — Ramos heads a free kick to Pique, who is offside.

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72nd minute – Can Spain get the breakthrough?

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70th minute – Off the bar! Xabi Alonso with a great shot off a corner, beats Benaglio but not the crossbar.

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68th minute – Torres finds space on a break, twirls and shoots over.

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67th minute – Switzerland maintain a better spell of possession here.

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64th minute – Navas gives more width to Spain, and Torres hopes to provide the scoring touch that has been absent thus far.

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63rd minute – NEAR MISS. Iniesta curls in a shot from the top of the box, Benaglio doesn't move, but it goes wide.

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61st minute – Busquets and David Silva come off, look for Spain to switch to a 4-4-2.

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61st minute – Benaglio out quickly to deny Villa. Torres looking to come on, along with Jesus Navas.

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60th minute – Spain turning up the pressure, winning a couple of corners. Nothing doing, Ramos heading over.

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58th minute – Villa with a tame shot in, straight to Benaglio.

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57th minute – Fresh resolve from the Swiss, getting forward and sending in a dangerous ball into Spain's box. Snared by Casillas, but a bit of a nervy moment their between the goalie and Pique.

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55th minute – For all their aesthetics, Spain was beat by a simple long ball that their defense couldn't deal with. Back to probing the Swiss defense, in search of an equalizer.

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54th minute – How will Spain respond? Pique is on the sideline receiving treatment for a cut above his eye. Not great 'keeping from Casillas on that one, either.

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51st minute – Route one football. Benaglio lumps it forward, the ball is headed on to an advanced Gelson Fernandes. Casillas came out, failed to deal with it, and Gerard Pique ends up on the ground.

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51st minute – GOAL Switzerland! A real comedy of airs, and Gelson Fernandes scores. What on earth just happened there?

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50th minute – Alonso with a long range shot, deflected off a Swiss defender for a corner. Swiss venturing forward, opening things up a bit more.

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48th minute – Sounder-to-be Blaise Nkufo has touched the ball about five times today. Probably won't change much in the second half.

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47th minute – Alonso can't keep a shot down. How many times have we seen that from range?

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45th minute – Back underway. More negative stuff from Switzerland? A goal would change things.

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HALFTIME – Any predictions for the second half?

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HALFTIME – A few stats at the break: Spain with 67% of possession, Switzerland have committed 11 fouls, and just one shot. Not shot on goal, shot.

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HALFTIME – Ninth time in 16 games that the score at the half has been 0-0. What should Spain do to break down the Swiss defense?

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HALFTIME – Referee Howard Webb brings the half to a close. Spain the much more dominant of the two, but Switzerland remains steadfast in their defense.

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45th minute – One minute of stoppage. Yet another game 0-0 at the half? Spain trying to pass it into the net. Need to shoot more when in close proximity to the net.

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44th minute – Iniesta takes a shot first time, but it's well high. Blame the ball, Iniesta.

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43rd minute – Not much going on. Switzerland stifling the Spanish attack, content to force La Furia Roja to come at them.

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40th minute – This game needs Fernando Torres. If he's healthy, of course.

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38th minute – Swiss earn a corner on a rare venture forward, though it comes to nothing. Casillas sends a terrible kick out of bounds trying to start an attack.

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37th minute – Spain hit on the counter and win a corner. They can only manage a tame header that Benaglio snares.

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35th minute – Chance for Spain. Villa heads back a cross in the box, no one can get on it. Senderos comes out, dejected. Von Bergen his replacement. Possession favors Spain 69%-31% now. Seems generous.

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33rd minute – Sill 0-0. Spain with all the possession, dangerous chances are few and far between, however.

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31st minute – Villa takes a hard free kick, and the wall does its job. Ensuing corner is headed away.

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29th minute – Yellow on Grichting. Iniesta goes down very easily under a challenge on the edge of the box. Senderos just returned to the pitch. Great chance here for the Spanish.

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28th minute – Hard foul on Iniesta from Ziegler. How long til Spain get frustrated?

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26th minute – SAVE Casillas. Switzerland earns a free kick in a dangerous position, not much on it from Ziegler and Casillas saves easily.

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23rd minute – SAVE Benaglio! Pique is well forward, receives a great ball from Iniesta in space, but Benaglio cuts off the angle and makes a fantastic save.

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21st minute – Iniesta with a long-range crack at goal that Benaglio easily grabs. Lots of spin on that, but no power makes it simple.

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19th minute – A start that favors the Swiss — Spain have yet to score, only threatened on goal once or twice.

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17th minute – Ramos with a great run into an advanced position, finding himself in behind Swiss defense, but elects to shoot instead of cross. Out for a goal kick.

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16th minute – Silva with a shot on goal — the game's first — that is easily handled by Benaglio.

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14th minute – Swiss biggest concern right now is the number of free kicks they are giving up. While Spanish aren't extremely deadline on the set pieces, it's the sort of sloppy play that could see cards add up.

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11th minute – Spain being patient. They'll have to be. Switzerland seems content on crowding the center of the park — Ramos needs to get forward often to stretch the field.

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9th minute – Switzerland enjoys a nice string of possession, earning a corner in the process. Need to hit when they have the chance. Barnetta sees a cross deflected out of bounds.

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6th minute – As expected, Spain passing it around on the ground, Swiss seeing none of the ball. Switzerland holding shape, but a couple of fouls early on that you'd rather not see.

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4th minute – Grichting takes down Busquets, free kick for Spain. Xavi sends in a delivery that the Swiss defense clears.

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3rd minute – Pressure is on Spain to reach expectations. They're enjoying the lion's share of possession, and getting forward early.

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1st minute – And they're off! The final two teams to play in the 2010 World Cup get things started in Durban.

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PREGAME – Only four teams have scored more than one goal in a game — Brazil, Korea Republic, Netherlands and Germany. Will things open up today?

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PREGAME – Anthems are playing now, kick off only a few minutes away.

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PREGAME – Players are making their way onto the pitch. Any predictions for today's match?

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PREGAME – Switzerland will obviously play for a draw here, hoping to take three points off of Chile and Honduras respectively. A very defensive nation in the past, Swiss defense didn't concede a goal in the 2006 World Cup (going out on penalties to the Ukraine).

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PREGAME – Can Spain live up to the hype? They have great players, but the crushing pressure of expectations can sometimes undermine the most talented teams. A 6-0 drubbing of Poland last week showed their intent.

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PREGAME – Spain opts to go with the five-man midfield approach. Can Inler and Fernandes — both defensive-minded midfielders — cope?

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PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups:

SWITZERLAND

——-Derdiyok———Nkufo——-

Fernandes–Huggel–Inler—Barnetta

Ziegler–Senderos–Grichting–Lichsteiner

—————Benaglio—————–

SPAIN

——————–Villa——————–

—-Iniesta——-Xavi———–Silva—-

——–Busquets———–Alonso——–

–Capdeila–Pique—Puyol–Sergio Ramos–

—————–Casillas——————

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