Another 1-0 victory put Chile in a favorable position going into the last round of games on friday. It took the Chileans 75 minutes to break the tough Swiss defense, who held on admirabley with 10 men for nearly 60 minutes of the game. The goal came from substitute left forward Mark Gonzalez after a nice cross in by substitute forward Esteban Paredes. The Swiss found themselves down a man after Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to be sent off in a FIFA World Cup match in the 31st minute for wipping his hand at a rival’s face. Even before the booking, Chile had began to dominate the game with ball control, the Swiss were content with waiting in their end with 8 defencemen manning 2 stout lines. After the booking it was a monologue as Chile took complete control of the ball and attacked until finally breaching the Swiss defense that had held Spain off the scoresheet. It is evident that the Swiss’ game is defense. Even when they were down 0-1 , the Swiss looked more interested in protecting their net than going for the equalizer. Chile had 2 more chances to add on a couple of goals that would have all but clinched them a berth into the round of 16, but again like in game 1, their forwards were out of touch. The Swiss’ lone chance to score in the entire game came late on a counterattack when a beautiful give and go play resulted in a player having a clear shot at the net from near the penalty spot but sent it a meter wide of the Chilean keeper.
The win gives Chile 6 pts. In other groups this would be enough to advance, but in group H it will still take in all likelihood a tie against Spain to clinch a spot, the reason for this being the goal difference between the teams. For Chile it is simple, a win or tie against Spain clinches 1st place in the group. A 1 goal loss to Spain couple with a 2 goal win by Switzerland over Honduras sends them home. A 2 goal loss and any type of win by the Swiss also sends them home. It tough luck for the Chileans who despite dominating both opponents in the opening round only find themselves with a +2 goal differential, quite a disappointment considering how lopsided the games against their rivals have been. It will take another big game for them to advance against the team many still consider the favorites to win it all.
To make matters worse they will be taking on the favorites without 2 fundamental midfield players, Matias Fernandez and Carlos Carmona, both out for picking up their second yellow cards against the Swiss.
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Written by The Gator Great