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Posted: Friday June 25, 2010 8:46AM ; Updated: Friday June 25, 2010 2:29PM
Georgina Turner

Spain vs. Chile World Cup instant analysis

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    The teams are in, and there are one or two hints of pragmatism – Marcelo Bielsa’s swapped out three players who picked up yellow cards in the last match (though Humberto Suazo looked ripe for the bench anyway); Vicente del Bosque has brought Andres Iniesta back in at the expense of David Silva/Jesus Navas rather than Sergio Busquests, who keeps his place at the back of midfield. But let’s still hope for something better than Portugal and Brazil served up earlier – after all, a draw here is far less desirable for either side than, evidently, for Portugal.

    Chile: Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Waldo Ponce, Gonzalo Jara, Arturo Vidal, Marco Estrada, Mark Gonzalez, Alexis Sanchez, Jorge Valdivia, Jean Beausejour.

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

    The teams come out into a noisy stadium, cameras flashing madly like a Jonas Brothers concert. Is that who the kids are still into? I sense you could perform a rather natty jig in time to Chile's national anthem, but the players stand and sing in a neat line, instead. The mascots are exceptionally pleased to be on the TV. The Spanish anthem is drowned out by Chileans continuing to sing their own for a couple of minutes, and it's got Carlos Puyol's brow twitching.

  • 1'


    And we're off! Spain in dark blue, Chile in red. Apologies for the delay in getting the team news to you, blame The Internet and all who sail in her.

  • 2'

    Chile, playing 3-3-1-3 again, has started with the greater energy. “No predictions today,” begins a chastened Mark Schmidt, “but I'm hoping Honduras can get some sort of result. Rather see Spain & Chile through.”

  • 3'

    Xavi puts a free-kick onto Torres' head in the six yard box, but he can't control it without the luscious blond locks.

  • 5'

    Isla - who's looked excellent on the right for Chile in the tournament so far, won't let Busquets past whether it's by fair means or foul. Not the most free-flowing game of foo- soccer, so far.

  • 8'

    Torres escapes the attentions of Ponce but he never looks quite in control of the ball and is eased off it as he looks to worry the keeper. He's still not match-sharp, for me - which probably means he'll score a hat-trick in the second half.

  • 10'

    “Two open teams?” says Dave, “Potential for attacking flair? Lots of goals promised? 0-0 stalemate for sure.” Not on this evidence - Chile, playing one-touch stuff, carve Spain open and only Gonzalez's loss of balance prevents a decent shot from six yards out.

  • 11'

    Estrada cuts in and shoots with his left foot, but Casillas (opting not to try and boot it clear, for once) gets both hands to it and gives it a hug.

  • 14'

    Beausejour looks like he's got the beating of Pique if and when Chile opt to break down the left - och, and then Sanchez pokes a shot up and over from the right, forcing a save from Casillas and a corner. Balls into the area haven't found their man, so far, but Chile looks impressive.

  • 16'

    “I think I'm maxed out on Cinderellas and want Chile and Spain to both advance,” says Brendan Hunt. “Second round continental derbies, por favor.” Spain has held onto the ball in the past couple of minutes, but Chile defend like terriers.

  • 18'

    Thinking about it, I'd probably want something a bit nastier than a terrier to defend my castle. But you get the point. They're at it, is what I'm saying.

  • 19'

    Yellow Card - Ponce

    Capdevila takes a throw and bumps the ball into the back of his head, so the referee lets him have another go. Not sure that's in the rules, ref. Meanwhile Ponce's booked for kicking out at Torres.

  • 21'

    Yellow Card - Estrada

    Estrada gets booked for coming through the back of Busquets - apparently that's three for Chile already, so I've missed one somewhere. Could we see another red today?

  • 24'

    Spain 1-0

    Goal - David Villa

    GOAL! David Villa has scored a goal that this tournament will be remembered for if nothing else!

    Capdevila sent Torres down the left with a long ball that Claudio Brava fancies he can reach first, but he's left high and dry and Villa - still a fair way out of goal himself - sends it bouncing towards goal.

  • 27'

    That goal came just as I was about to wax lyrical about how smooth Chile is going forward. Now it looks like we might see more of the ragged defending side of its game. Estrada's just committed another foul, but fortunately for him a) the ref opts not to card him, and b) Villa's attempt on goal from the resulting free-kick belongs on a rugby field.

  • 29'

    The yellow card I missed was one shown to Gary Medel (do they have Garys in Chile?!), apparently (additional reportage from John Carey there).

  • 32'

    Chile seems to have settled back into its attacking rhythm, and it's Spain's turn to sit back and look for the counter-attack. Once again Torres lets the side down with a poor first touch.

  • 35'

    Beausejour storms down the left, but Pique steps into the picture just in time to nudge a shot into the side netting. He's puffed out now, but has the look of a player who knows he's being shown on replays around the world.

  • 36'

    Spain 2-0

    GOAL! Iniesta has just passed the ball into the net to put Spain two up!

  • 40'

    Red Card - Estrada

    All sorts of mayhem: Torres went down in the build up to the goal, and no one's quite sure if the referee is about to brandish a red card. Looks like Estrada got a straight red, and he's now off! This is not how Chile planned it.

    Apparently there was a second yellow before the red, though the ref was quiet about waving that around. It's incredibly harsh because it was a simple trip, but the fact that Torres stayed laid out on the deck even while his teammates celebrated might have had some influence. The goal, incidentally, was classic passing move from Spain, swinging out to the left and then back into the middle for Iniesta.

  • 41'

    "The controversy fan in me wants to see one of two things," says Eric Peterson. "If Spain and Switzerland each win, that'll be three teams on 6 points, and someone's getting knocked out even though they won two group games.  If Chile and Honduras win, someone's winning a three-way tiebreaker for second place and going to the knockout round even though they lost twice in the group.  Let's make it really awesome and draw lots.  Bring it on!"

  • 43'

    A slightly calmer spell there, though Chile seems unable to go near an opponent without hearing a whistle.

  • 43'

    A slightly calmer spell there, though Chile seems unable to go near an opponent without hearing a whistle.

  • 45'

    The referee's assistant says we'll have two more minutes before taking a breather.

    "Chile is defending more like basset hounds than terriers (or something that makes sense)" offers Phil Fraser. The only thing I know about basset hounds is that they stink. So I'm told, anyway. Nothing else to report at the moment, Ponce trod on Alonso a moment ago so the physios are on.

  • 47'


    Right, that's half time. And what a half it's been - in very different ways to what we expected. Chile controlled most of the early exchanges - only really giving way to Spain in the last seven or eight minutes of the half. How they can recover with 10-men, however, I'm not sure; Spain will only grow in confidence now, and it's not like they're a bunch of chancers, however luckily they've happened upon two goals so far. It's still 0-0 between Switzerland and Honduras, but if that changes Chile could be in real trouble...

  • 48'

    Second Half

    Chile get us going for another 45 minutes of full-throttle cage-fighting. Vadivia and Gonzalez have been replaced by Parades and Millar. "Torres deserves to be ridiculed for his theatrics," gruffs Josh in Ohio. "To take to ground with a number 10 like that and skip out on the celebration, never mind being present at the back post in case the keeper got a hand to the shot, is just pathetic. Earns him the golden something or other." Pewter, surely, whatever it is?

    Chile are still playing the only way they know how: attacking whenever they can. Millar swings at a cutback from Sanchez, but misses horribly.

  • 49'

    Spain 2-1Chile

    Goal - Millar

    GOAL! Millar's got one back for Chile!

    He's right on the edge of the area and tries to curl it around the defense and just inside the right hand post, but a deflection off Pique's knee gives it a slightly different direction and speed. Casillas is planted.

     Paredes is called offside, mainly because he was. Lively start from Chile - but we all know where that can lead, don't we boys and girls?


  • 50'

    "The commentators over on El Pais are using words like unbeatable, unstoppable..." says Richard de Lorenzo. "Clearing shelf space for a trophy, apparently."


  • 52'

    Spain take their chance to move the ball around for a bit, but Villa's cross is too close to the keeper and too far from Torres, who I refuse to believe is anything approaching match fit.

  • 54'


    Out: Torres , In: Fabregas

    Torres is being taken off, to be replaced by Cesc Fabregas, who claps politely.

  • 56'

    Fabregas tries to find some space near the corner flag, but can't outmuscle two defenders, despite falling over and showing the linesman a pair of pleading puppy-dog eyes.

  • 57'

    If you're worried you're missing anything in the other game, by the way, I'm reliably informed that you're not missing anything except another How To Play Soccer Like You Hate It exhibition from Switzerland.

  • 60'

    It's been all Spain for a while now, culminating in Fabregas dinking a ball over the defense into Villa, who tries a cute first-time flick but ends up tripping over. There is surely another goal coming, though.

  • 62'

    Another couple of chances for Villa, but he can't control an overhit pass from Fabregas for the first, and is worked off the ball by Ponce for the second. Trust me though, it's coming.

  • 64'

    "Gerard Pique is the coolest dude in the tournament," reckons Jason Parker, while expressing his love for Spain in an email that suggests a smidgeon of alcohol might be involved. It's the beard, isn't it?

  • 65'


    Out: Sanchez , In: Orellana

    Sanchez is being subbed, Orellana is coming on. Didn't see that one coming; Sanchez is surely one of Chile's best outlets.

  • 67'

    Vidal and Beausejour just attempted to replicate the pass that drew Bravo out of his goal in the first half, but Casillas remains calmly on his line. It was never likely to work.

  • 69'

    Vidal and Beausejour just attempted to replicate the pass that drew Bravo out of his goal in the first half, but Casillas remains calmly on his line. It was never likely to work.

    Benaglio (Swiss goalkeeper, stay with me here) has just saved to keep things level between Switzerland and Honduras.

  • 72'

    "Basset hounds are known to smell in that they have a very keen sense of smell… not that they stink," says Carlos Bilbao, in what appears to be an audacious attempt to patronise me to within an inch of my life. I realise bassets can sniff, Carlos, but I'm sure someone told me they stink the house up. "In any case, quite happy Spain is doing well. Talent and beautiful play should be rewarded." It's fair to say possession has swung rather violently in Spain's favor, but not too much has really happened.


  • 73'


    Out: Alonso , In: Javier Martinez

    Alonso off, Javier Martinez on. Alonso caught a nasty one to the ankle in the first half, might need some ice.

  • 76'

    Iniesta blasts a shot over just to remind us all that sometimes footballers do shoot. "Can you give the briefest of "if it ended now" explanations?" asks Joel Gerlach. If it ended now, I guess I'd be quite happy with my lot. I've had some fun, and-- oh, I see. If it ended *right now* Spain and Chile would go through. A Swiss goal would jigger that, though. A Honduras goal would not.

  • 78'

    Anyone who saw the game earlier will know what I mean when I say: it's just like watching Brazil.


  • 81'

    Chile have created a couple of openings, but tiny little ones where they get caught offside very quickly. "I wonder if it's just coincidence that Spain is playing better in traveling blue than the home red?" poses Todd in Fanwood, NJ. "They're like a different team really." There may be something in this, you know - England seem to be infinitely better in red, anyway. That, I grant you, is far more likely to be coincidental.

  • 83'

    I'm confident I've watched warm-up stretches that have been livelier than the last minute or so.

  • 85'

    I'm tempted to root against Spain as a traditional European power, but their players are too likeable," says Thomas Ahn, riding the new world order bandwagon. "And in the case of Sergio Ramos, endearingly goofy."

  • 87'

    If Spain scores again in the next few minutes, it will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase 'falling asleep at the back'.

  • 89'

    Spain have just attacked! Briefly. Fabregas was so surprised he scuffed his shot completely.

  • 90'

    Spain have another two minutes to pass the ball around to no net effect whatsoever. Here is the case for soccer to adopt the concept of declaration.

  • 92'


    The referee blows the final whistle, to everyone's relief. Spain will go through top of the group and face Portugal, while Chile play Brazil having come second - Switzerland couldn't manage anything against Honduras. The end of the match was disappointing to watch, but it at least means that the two best teams in Group H are through. Thanks again for your company, see you tomorrow for the big one.

  • 92'


    The referee blows the final whistle, to everyone's relief. Spain will go through top of the group and face Portugal, while Chile play Brazil having come second - Switzerland couldn't manage anything against Honduras. The end of the match was disappointing to watch, but it at least means that the two best teams in Group H are through. Thanks again for your company, see you tomorrow for the big one.

Refresh your browser for the latest update.

Spain needs to beat Chile to be certain of qualifying for the next round, though a draw could suffice if Switzerland was held to a draw by Honduras. If Switzerland is beaten without scoring, Spain will go through anyway, but in second, which sets up a likely encounter with Brazil. Oh it all sounds very complicated, doesn't it? The bottom line is Spain could do with the win, to avoid Brazil and to reassert its potential for the trophy -- which took a bit of a pounding after defeat to Switzerland and wasn't entirely recovered by victory over Honduras. And let's not forget Chile in all this -- it has, after all, played the way Spain wishes it had. It now tops the group and a point would keep it there.

Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. ET, so I'll be here from about 2.15 p.m. with team news and whatnot. Join me online and send your thoughts, soccer or non-soccer, to georgina.turner.si@gmail.com.

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