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Spain and Chile are regarded as the group’s “Big Guys” despite the European champions taking the upper hand. Now Honduras and Switzerland somehow look overshadowed by the so-called favorites.
La Roja are aware that they have all it takes to rule Group H, and probably, win the World Cup. Still, they seem to show good signs of psychology by disallowing complaisance to get them distracted. The Spanish are surrounded by strong-minded countries who are all aiming for a place in the knockout phase of the 2010 World Cup, and this is what makes it harder for the Euro 2008 champions to feel relax in their group.
Nonetheless, the bronze medalists of the 2009 Confederations Cup are said to be in the best of shapes, shining through some of the world’s biggest stars, among which lie David Villa, Fernando Torres, and a bunch of other players. Getting a maximum of 9 points in Group H will certainly be a must for Coach Vicente del Bosque, who looks poised to positively change Spain’s history in the tournament and bring his country their first World Cup trophy ever.
The fact that the Chileans ended their World Cup qualification just behind Brazil has remained in everybody’s mind. The South Americans – generally considered as a very technical team – are also a big threat to Spain. Methodically, they hold the most weapons to challenge the Spanish, and get their way out of their group along with the European rulers. Chile have had a negative record in the World Cup tournament since they finished third back in 1962; but now, with a recharged side, the Red One could find back the pride they carried several years ago.
The Swiss are not to be despised. They couldn’t cross the second round of the 2006 World Cup, but regardless of this fact, they were capable of making a clean sheet record in that competition. They could obviously set another record in South Africa – more or less impressive – but in any case, the inclusion of a few youngsters in their national football squad could add more pace and tactics to their style of play. Why wouldn't they put some icing on the cake after the country's U-17 side shocked everyone by winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup tropy on the African continent last year?
The rising CONCACAF side is certainly looking forward to turning their second World Cup participation into a sweet and special experience. One might think that the Central Americans lack of star players to reach their goal, but in some ways, this is what makes them even more special. Honduras enjoyed a stunning and great qualification road into the 2010 World Cup. Now, it will be up to them to finish what they have already started.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Carlos Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Fernando Torres
Chile: Humberto Suazo, Matías Fernández, Alexis Sánchez.
Switzerland: Alexander Frei, Blaise Kufo.
Honduras: Carlos Pavón, Wilson Palacios.
Switzerland vs Chile
As the odd in Group H, Switzerland will not want to be cheaply erased from the tournament. They would definitely prefer to progress as runners-up, rather than going home empty-handed. However, the Swiss’ destiny in the 2010 World Cup might only be decided when they face Group H’s second favorites Chile – who are also anticipating a place in the Last 16 stage.
Spain and Switzerland – the 1966 World Cup
On the 14th of July 1966, a number of Spanish fans though that their side was going to be defeated by the Swiss. Quentin first gave Switzerland the lead midway through the first half, but in the second half, Sanchis and Amancio’s strikes got La Roja back in the game – which they eventually won 2-1.
Spain and Switzerland – the 1994 World Cup
This meeting between both countries didn’t prove to be less productive for southern-western Europeans. A first goal from Hierro in Washington on 15 minutes quickly put La Roja in front, before Luis Enrique ensured Spain had the victory by adding to the tally on 73 minutes. Finally, with four minutes remaining in normal time, Spain tripled their lead to win this match 3-0.
On the last match-day of the group stage, will the Chileans be able to shock the Spanish just like they overpowered the Argentines during the qualifiers?
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