Pierre Boisrond has followed soccer and the World Cup
closely for many years and also writes for other websites. We at PWC are proud to have him as
a columnist. He will share his views about the past, present and future of
the World Cup.
Read earlier columns
Chile: A Winner after 48 years; Swiss shocked Spaniards; South Africaís Hope Crushed by Uruguay
The initial games of Group H and the 2nd game in group A between Uruguay and South Africa started today. The day began with Chile vs. Honduras. I think any pundit should have been able to predict the outcome of this game. Chile, coached by the Argentine, Marcelo Bielsa, played an attacking style of football. In the 34th minute, Jean Beausejour scored for Chile. However, it was a bit of luck because the Honduras defender tried to get rid of the ball; the ball then hit Beausejour and went into the goal. The Chilean Internationals played to win the game and they could have scored a second goal if it were not for the unbelievable stop of Honduras goalie, Noel Valladares. After 48 years without being able to win a world cup game, Chile had finally won a game. This was a great win for the Chileans. The country really needs that joy after dealing with the recent earthquakes devastation. Chile is now in a great position to make it to the round of 16. Chileís next game will be against Switzerland and Honduras will face Spain.
The second game in group H was between Spain vs. Switzerland. Somehow, Spain will always be Spain. In most of the big moments, Spain seems to find themselves under great duress. This time, it was Switzerland Internationals who inflicted the pain into the Spaniards by beating them 1-0 after Gelson Fernandes who was born in Africa (Cape Verdean) buried the ball into the net. It was not pretty, but it was a goal that gave Switzerland 3 points.
As a fan of football, I must say that Switzerland won but football lost. Spain should have won the game. The Spaniards played a magnificent football; they have done all they needed to do to tie the game but the gods of football refused to answer the prayers of the Spanish International. The beauty of football is that there will always be another opportunity for redemption. The Spaniards will have that opportunity to redeem themselves in front of Honduras. Honduras will not make it easier for Spain, but I donít think Spain will have any issue to get those 3 points and then to face Chile in their last games. The fans of Spain do not need to worry about this defeat because Spain is a serious contender to take this trophy back home. Spain was just unlucky today. This defeat will serve Spain very well because it will force them to remember that they are not invincible and they need to find ways to put the ball into the net. So far in Group H, Chile and Switzerland have 3 points each with a goal differential (GD) of +1 each. Spain and Honduras have 0 point with a GD of -1 each. The next games in this group will be: Spain vs. Honduras and Chile Switzerland. Spain is a serious contender, they will definitely make it to the next round. For Honduras, they do have a chance as well, but they need to be very focused in front of Spain; if not, they will need to book their tickets for Tegucigalpa.
Todayís last game was the second game for two teams in Group A. It was between the host nation, South Africa vs Uruguay. The game ended 3-0 in favor of Uruguay. Uruguay played an excellent game and showed the world that they are also in South Africa. It was Diego Forlan who destroyed the hope of the South Africans with a brilliant shot in the 24th minute that left the South African goalie helpless. It was again Forlan who augmented the score 2-0 on a penalty kick in the 80th minute. When everyone thought the Uruguayan Internationals were done scoring, Alvaro Pereira gave the coup de grace to South Africa in the 95th minute to put Uruguay up 3-0. Uruguay comes to play in this World Cup; The have great discipline and they also have Diego Forlan, a brilliant striker, who can make something happens with nothing. Now, Uruguay has 4 points with a GD of +3 and South Africa has 1 point with a GD of -3.
On the other hand, mathematically, the South Africans still have a slim chance to go to the next round, but that depends on the result of Mexico vs. France. If the game between France vs. Mexico ends with a tie, then the South Africans will have a chance to get 4 points if they can beat France and then wait for the result between Mexico and Uruguay. For the South Africans, it is good to have some hope and they do have that. What matters now is basically to remain focus and try to get a very good result in front of France so the people of South Africa can celebrate. In Group A, any team with 4 points can make it to the second round. Will South Africa make it to the second round? That depends on the result of France vs. Mexico. If the result is a tie, then South Africa still has a chance to make it through the next round if they beat France and they will need Uruguay to beat Mexico.
Letís continue to enjoy the games. Todayís games will be: in Group B: Argentina vs. South Korea; Nigeria vs. Greece; and in Group A: Mexico vs. France. If Mexico and France want to go to the round of 16, a win will give them that opportunity. Nigeria has to step it up against Greece if they want to make it to the next round. For Argentina, they will be looking forward to take the 1st place in Group B, however the South Koreanís coach stated that they are not here for Taekwondo but Football.
To recap the key stories, Chile won a FIFA World Cup game after 48 years; Switzerland shocked Spain, and Uruguay crushed the hope of the host nation, South Africa. Switzerland taught us that nothing is impossible. The underdogs must be pleased with Switzerland for giving them some home to go out there and compete with a defensive type minded strategy.
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