The Cup Running Over

June 21, 2010 1:10 PM

Monday Review: Group H Gets Tighter


Chile won its second game in a row, but this win was tainted by its circumstances. Chile, a very slick passing side, was only able to undo a Swiss team that had gone a record nine hours without conceding at the World Cup because of an extremely dubious red-card. Arturo Vidal collapsed in agony after a fictional Valon Behrami elbow to the face, and Chile heavily utilized its numerical advantage, eventually taking the lead through a Mark Gonzalez header. Switzerland should croak Honduras in its final game and so will likely finish with six points too, meaning this group is neck and neck. Depending on goal difference, Chile may have to beat Spain to advance, even more difficult because it will be without playmaker Matias Fernandez, suspended for picking up a second yellow today. A tight, tight group.


Something is wrong with Spain. Perhaps it's the altitude, the ball, or even the grueling domestic season. Maybe it's the fact that there are question marks over the club future of some of its stars, like Fernando Torres, David Silva, or Cesc Fabregas. But whatever the reason, this Spain team is missing its spark. Despite superior possession, wonderful midfield ball movement, and a host of chances, Spain only managed to beat Honduras 2-0 in a game in which it should have cashed in big time. Only 70 minutes in, Spain had touched the ball 41 times in the Honduras box (Honduras had managed only 2 in Spain's). And yet, nothing was clicking. Sergio Ramos got forward numerous times, only to perpetually hit the ball just wide. Jesus Navas made surging runs up the flanks, getting into wonderful positions, only to lose possession or overhit crosses. Torres was a no-show, and David Villa, despite scoring two goals, was off his game, scuffing a penalty wide and blowing a wonderful opportunity in the dying minutes. Maybe it's psychological, maybe it's physical, but if Spain is to truly be a contender in this tournament, it has to get its act together. Fast.

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