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Posted: Monday June 21, 2010 7:24AM ; Updated: Monday June 21, 2010 2:34PM
Georgina Turner

Spain vs. Honduras World Cup instant analysis

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    Team news

    Vicente del Bosque has made changes to the side that failed so spectacularly to break down Switzerland, though we may have to wait until Spain takes to the field to know exactly how the new XI will shape up. It could be a very exciting 4-3-3, though the Honduras backline may be less enthused if that’s the case. Alexis Mendoza has left his formation alone (4-2-3-1) but there are a couple of changes of personnel in the front four.

    Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Joan Capdevila, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Jesus Navas, Fernando Torres, David Villa.

    Honduras: Noel Valladares, Sergio Mendoza, Osman Chavez, Maynor Figueroa, Emilio Izaguirre, Wilson Palacios, Amado Guevara, Danilo Turcios, Walter Martinez, Roger Espinoza, David Suazo.

    The teams are making their way onto the pitch, which can only mean one thing: it's time for the anthems. The vuvuzelas go silent for the Spanish one, and several thousand, possibly inebriated, voices in the crowd take up the chorus. Casillas salutes the crowd, Bono-style. Vuvuzelas slower to shut up for Honduras, which is a far daintier number. Here we go...

  • 1'


    Spain get us off the mark, kicking from left to right in my living room. “Who did you make mad at SI to be forced to offer analysis for today's Spain-Honduras match?” chortles Bill Hollister. “All kidding aside it should not be much of a contest. Spain has way too much talent and firepower to go scoreless again. I'm predicting a 3-0 win for the Spanish.”

  • 2'

    Couple of sloppy touches from Spain in the opening minutes, but according to my teamsheet, No8 is definitely Xavi.

  • 4'

    "Because my prediction for USA v Slovenia went so well," says Mark Schmidt, whose prediction for USA v Slovenia, if I'm being honest, I can't remember, "I'm going to go ahead and say Spain 3-1 Honduras. Torres x2, Villa, Pavon." Torres calls for a handball decision in the box, but the referee's not interested.

  • 5'

    Villa slots the ball across to Torres right in front of goal, but he scuffs it with his studs and Valladares gathers comfortably. Is Spain going to make us wait until the second half, too?

  • 6'

    Now that was a shot that deserved a goal: Busquets (I think) slid a straight ball through the Honduras defense and Villa's strike leaves the crossbar wobbling like a jelly.

  • 8'

    Xavi flights a free-kick into the area from the right, but Ramos can't get to it because he's too busy falling over. There was an arm in his back from Mendoza, but the referee is, once again, disinterested.

  • 11'

    Ramos puts a header over the bar, giving the keeper's jaw a good battering on his way back down to the ground. Ah, the ice bag has done its work.

  • 13'

    Alonso plays Villa in with one of those diagonal balls that you wish you could do without having to trot across six adjacent pitches to collect the ball, but he shanks the shot well wide.

  • 15'

    Honduras have a moment of reasonable pressure after Casillas again decides to save with his feet rather than his hands, but the Spanish defense stands firm.

  • 16'

    Spain 1-0

    Goal - David Villa

    If Suazo had really wanted to, he could have got onto the end of that little dink over the defense from Martinez, who had chased a - oh it doesn't even matter, Spain has just scored!

    Wonderful, wonderful goal from David Villa, picking up another Hollywood ball from Pique and shimmying past three, four? defenders and poking the ball into the top corner.

  • 19'

    Villa tries the same trick again, and is unceremoniously upended by Mendoza. That'll be a free-kick from wide on the left...

    ... Ramos is penalised for bundling Figueroa to the ground.

  • 21'

    "It was a forgettable prediction anyway," shrugs Mark Schmidt, dabbing his eye. "Picking the score and the scorers gives you so much more opportunity to be wrong." You could yet be onto something, Mark. If Spain doesn't score another, I - hang on, no - Diego Maradona will run naked around Buenos Aires.

  • 24'

    Navas scoops a cross into the middle and Xavi's leap puts him 0.3cm underneath it. For the second time this evening, I fail to avoid making a slightly middle-aged 'Och' sound.

  • 26'

    Busquets' reaction to the faintest of touches from someone else's hand near his face leads me to believe he has trouble staying the chair at the dentist.

  • 30'

    Torres spins towards goal after getting the ball from Ramos, but fails to take it with him. Still, it's the service into him, so far, that's more often the problem. He's sitting in between the defenders as he has a knack of doing, but a couple of passes have been overhit. 

  • 32'

    Villa once again ducks and dives his way into the box, but instead of trying a Maicon special, pulls it back into a crowd of Honduras players. It must be soon... but not if Torres plants all his headers into the ground at his feet.

  • 33'

    Then Torres rolls Figueroa but punts his shot yards over the bar. Got any WD40 in your bag of tricks, Mr Physio?

  • 35'

    "Has FIFA ever considered adding an additional ref to the pitch?" asks Tyler in Orlando. "It seems like having two referees on the pitch that are trained to rotate and slide so that each can see the action from any angle seems like it would keep the refs fresher (less running) and get more calls right due to direct line of sight (the Henry handball comes to mind)." Who would defer to whom, though? That's the real issue with that kind of thing.

  • 38'

    Yellow Card - Izaguirre

    Izaguirre goes into the book for taking a kick at Busquets' standing leg.

  • 40'

    More Laurel and Hardy shenanigans inside the area as we await a Spain free-kick.

  • 41'

    Villa slapped a Honduran across the cheek, it turns out. He staggers about a bit before dropping to the floor, which is presumably why Villa gets away with it.

  • 43'

    Torres isn't entirely at the races today, and tumbles into the area with Mendoza at his shoulder.

  • 45'


    Honduras hurtle towards the Spanish penalty area, then Villa and three teammates do the same with only three defenders to beat... but Torres puts his shot straight into a white-shirted mid-riff. There's a brief pause after Pique is struck in the business end by the ball, and it's half-time.

  • 46'


    Out: Espinoza , In: Welcome

    The second half starts with George Welcome replacing Espinoza for Honduras.

  • 47'

    "If Spain doesn’t win…the world will be flat as originally thought," chips in Gene Ruta, as Honduras start the second half by keeping possession.

  • 48'

    Navas runs at the Honduras defense, which watches him come forwards like a parent teaching a child to ride a bike, encouraging him into the area. And then boots the ball away.

  • 50'

    Spain 2-0

    Goal - David Villa

    GOAL! That's two for Villa, and two for Spain

    Four on four, the Spaniards drifting in and out of the backline like jellyfish legs, Navas cuts the ball back to Villa and he just picks his spot.

  • 52'

    Legs or tentacles? You know what I mean, anyway. Spain should be capable of doing that several more times.

  • 55'

    "I've been curious about your plans Wednesday," asks Mr Schmidt. "Watch USA v Algeria, or England v Slovenia?" I'll be online covering the USA game live (!) here(!) but, being a fabulously teched-up media type, I shall have the England game on another screen so that I can see them embarrass themselves in glorious technicolor.

  • 59'

    The only really notable event of the past few minutes is the bloodied face of Pique, who is once again styling himself on Bluto this evening.  

    And I missed how it actually happened. Sorry about that.

  • 61'

    PENALTY! Penalty to Spain, Navas was felled by Izaguirre as he tries to turn back on him.

    And David Villa sidefoots it wide.

  • 62'

    That was a miss so casual it's like watching Frank Lampard in action.


  • 64'

    "Is Spain constantly in possession," begins Gary Cliff, "or are you being biased? With the scarcity of Honduras mentions, I almost think that Spain is playing an intra-squad scrimmage." It's not necessarily constant, Gary, but by the time I've even typed H-o-n-d-u-r, it's usually over, so I'm sparing my fingers the bother unless it really seems worth it. They've put four passes together now... but Suazo's shot is too straight to come back towards goals.

  • 65'


    Out: Xavi , In: Fabregas

    Xavi comes off to be replaced by Cesc Fabregas, who is apparently trying to grow a beard.

  • 66'

    Fabregas almost scores with his first touch, but the shot is cut out just before the line.

  • 67'

    Ramos would've scored a nicely taken volley, but for the top of a Honduras head. 

  • 70'

    "Re 55 minutes", says Carlos Bilbao. "I think that not only the presumably healthy (Spain, Portugal) but the dysfunctional (England and yes, even France) will smite lesser teams." Given the utter disarray in the French camp, I think it's highly unfair  - nay, insulting - to make that comparison; of course France will do better than England.

  • 71'


    Out: Torres , In: Mata

    In the meantime, Torres has been replaced by Mata, and looks none too pleased about it.

  • 73'

    Mata announces his arrival with a wild left-foot shot. "Is it just me or does Carlos Puyol look alarmingly like Peter Frampton in his heydey?" asks Tom Ahn. If everyone has to Google him as I just did, then yes, it's just you, Tom.

  • 75'


    Out: Sergio Ramos , In: Arbeloa

    Honduras has just had approximately 32 seconds on the ball, Gary.

  • 77'

    Ramon Nunez, whose arrival seems to have escaped me during the course of this half, plants a strike a few yards wide.

  • 79'

    Puyol's attempt at a header bounces plum off the top of his head, though I'm not sure he felt it.

  • 81'

    "Ramos plays a position that is undefinable," announces Robert Carrillo, though I sense he's going to give it a try regardless. "Supplementary winger? Attack back? Caught-out back? I could go on an-"

    Guevarra strokes a free-kick into the area for Honduras, but whoever meets with his head (they're not big on Honduras replays, the cameramen) pops it wide.

  • 84'


    Out: Suazo , In: Palacios

    “Why is Busquets allowed to wear his first name on the back of his jersey?” asks Aakash Raju. “I spent the first 60 minutes of the game thinking Sergio and Busquets were two separate players. I still suspect some trickery and that the universe is still messing with me somehow. David Villa misses a penalty kick the exact moment I'm convinced that Busquets does not exist and I've found a flaw in reality. What are the chances of that being a coincidence!” Jerry Palacios comes on for Suazo.

  • 86'

    Honduras have had the ball for a while now - which I waste my time writing about - Gary! - while Navas breaks away down the right and feeds Villa, who has the ball pinched off his toe at the crucial moment.

  • 88'

    I don't think Spain can even really be bothered to try and score again.

  • 90'

    My commentary is currently the only thing that's running in this match, and this is only jogging.

  • 91'

    Capdevila gets sandwiched between two Hondurans, and is in agony until it becomes evident that the referee won't be blowing his whistle on this occasion.

  • 93'


    And that's the final whistle.

    And that's the final whistle. Spain took a fairly relaxed approach in the second half, despite the fact that goal difference might still be important in this group. Perhaps they got bored of having the ball - the stats say 57% but I suspect that might be a typo at Fifa; the intercepting shins and hopeful punts from Honduras can not have added up to more than 25%. Still, job done for now. The final match with Chile, which comes on Friday, should be interesting.

Editor's note: Please refresh for updates.

Occasional soccer enthusiasts must still be clicking into World Cup websites, finding Spain's first match result: Spain 0-1 Switzerland, and emailing to complain about the mistake. The result was as improbable as the impotence with which the Spanish passed the ball around in front of the Swiss defense, but here we are at match two with Spain having to beat Honduras to keep itself in the Group H running.

Far greater obstacles have been overcome than Honduras, of course. It will defend with at least as much dedication, but is running a little lower in the accomplishment stakes. This match pits the World Cup's beat passing side against its worst. What I'm saying is: if Spain doesn't win this, the earth will spin off its axis and -- Spain is going to win this.

Join me online from 2.15 p.m. ET for instant analysis and not-necessarily soccer-related email banter -- georgina.turner.si@gmail.com.

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