Friday, June 25, 2010

Spain defeat 10-man Chile 2-1 to go through

Probably my most anticipated game was Chile - Spain, two sides which love to attack, put high pressure on the ball, and score goals. Switzerland - Honduras wasn't as exciting for me, but it's okay...

The ball rolls past Chile's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and Spain's Fernando Torres during a 2010 World Cup Group H match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria June 25, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Bravo rushing out only to be scored on by Villa
Chile - Spain

Things started well for Spain who were looking for a win, and they got their first goal thanks to a goal-keeping error by Bravo. Long ball for Torres who was being chased by a Chilean defender, Bravo rushes way out of the box and slide tackles Torres, but the clearance was bad and David Villa hits it first time with his left foot into the empty net. Spain get their second after winning the ball in Chile's half, neat and tidy build up play ends up with Villa cutting the ball to Iniesta who from the top of the box passes it into the bottom right corner.

But during the build up play, Fernando Torres was slightly clipped (could've been a dive, it's very hard to tell) by Estrada who received his second yellow card, and was sent off. Very unlucky for Chile who were keeping the European champions on their toes. In the second half Chile found a goal, substitute Millar with a deflected shot which looped around to Casillas's other side. The rest of the match was shut down by Spain who will move onto the round of 16 from the top of group H.

June 25, 2010 - Bloemfontein, SUEDAFRIKA - epa02222964 (L-R) Switzerland's Eren Derdiyok, Hakan Yakin and Xherdan Shaqiri sit on the pitch after the Group H's 2010 FIFA soccer World Cup preliminary round match between Switzerland and Honduras in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, 25 June 2010.
Swiss players in despair after their 0-0 with Honduras
Switzerland - Honduras

Switzerland dominated most of the game but they were unable to finish off opportunities they got, this resulted in a relatively boring game. It basically summed up their entire World Cup campaign, good in defense, but weak up front. The second half was much more attacking from both sides, but in the end both goal-keepers were unbeatable resulting in a game with little excitement.

Portugal advance with Brazil after 0-0 draw

A dull game, it was to be expected because Portugal were practically through along with Brazil. Ivory Coast on the other hand played to have fun, the chains off and the Ivory Coast really showed their attacking prowess.

June 25, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02222123 Brazil's Nilmar (L) attempts to score against goalkeeper Eduardo of Portugal during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group G preliminary round match between Portugal and Brazil at the Durban stadium in Durban, South Africa, 25 June 2010.
Nilmar's shot saved and onto the crossbar
Portugal - Brazil

It was a tight first half, Nilmar had a good chance after breaking through on the left, redirecting a shot on goal only to see Eduardo tip it just enough so that it bounced off the upright. It was one of the few opportunities in a half littered with fouls, dives, and yellow cards. Then in the 39th Maicon's cross to unmarked Luis Fabiano at the back post who somehow missed the header.

The second half was also forgettable, the biggest chance came thanks to Lucio clearing the ball across his own box for Mereiles to jump onto and have his shot saved by a brave Julio Cesar. Brazil also had a chance with Ramires having shot deflected which slightly troubled Eduardo, but the Portuguese kept the score at 0-0. Dull match, hope to see better from both teams throughout the tournament.

June 25, 2010 - South Africa - Football - North Korea v Ivory Coast FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group G - Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, South Africa - 25/6/10..Yaya Toure (L) scores Ivory Coast's first goal.
Yaya Toure's shot which ends up in the back of the net
Korea DPR - Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast finally dominated a game, their first match against Portugal they were cagey and afraid, and in the second against Brazil was just impossible. The Ivory Coast showed why many consider them the best African nation in this tournament, plenty of possession and shots on target as they crushed DPR Korea 3-0.

The first half started well, Drogba getting a goal disallowed for offside, and after that they found the opener with Yaya Toure in the 14th. A pinpoint cutback from Boka on the left which Yaya Toure passed into the bottom left corner. Six minutes later Drogba thundered a shot onto the crossbar from point-blank range to then have Romaric follow up with a header giving the Ivory Coast goal number two.

The third goal came late into the second half, Kalou was brought on as a substitute in the 64th, and then in the 82nd the Chelsea winger got the final goal. A cross which Kalou anticipated perfectly to tuck away, then the Ivory Coast had another disallowed goal from Dindane who finished off a cross which was just tipped by a teammate when he was in an offside position. A good score-line for a team people certainly would've wanted to see more of.


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