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Not Very Neutral At All: Switzerland Upsets Spain 1-0

Well, the first upset of the tournament has happened. There have been lots of surprising results, but no upsets like this one. No doubt the country of Spain is already in panic mode and fearing that their National Team curse has returned. Everyone thought they had the monkey off their back after they won the Euro Cup in 2008, but the World Cup is its own beast.

A couple of quick thoughts:

1a. Hats off to Switzerland. You have to give credit where it is due. I think they took a page out of the Inter Milan book for how to beat a strong Spanish team. Inter Milan eliminated Barcelona in the Champions League last season. They let Barcelona play their game and then took advantage of their few opportunities. Switzerland seemed to do the same thing. They were content letting Spain's midfielders pass the ball back and forth between the half-line and the 18 yard box - which they did for about 90% of the game. Switzerland allowed Spain to have the possession they crave and just focused on preventing Spain from getting great opportunities inside the box. Spain had some great chances, but couldn't really penetrate the defense like they wanted, or thought they could.

1b. Along the same lines, Switzerland took advantage of their scoring opportunities. Switzerland knew that Spain wanted to control the ball and so they would have to make the most of their chances, and they did. They weren't just fastbreaks either. They had some legitimate build-up and scoring opportunities. It very easily could have been 2-0. They didn't play panicked and didn't run towards goal every time they got the ball. They were calm and just realize that they wouldn't have the ball as much, so they better make sure each possession mattered. So hats off to them. They played an excellent game.

2. Spain needs to drop their 5 midfielder offense. They pride themselves on their passing and controlling the ball and waiting until the perfect moment to place the perfect through ball to the forward making the perfect run through the defense where the forward will have the perfect shot and score the perfect and most beautiful goal ever. Cut it out. Seriously. Start Torres up top with Villa and let them make beautiful music together. They had chemistry towards the end of the game and they were starting to click, but Torres is rusty and needs more touches on the ball. Until he came in though, there weren't too many legitimate socring opportunities as there weren't enough scoring threats up top.

3. With that said, Spain did have loads of chances. So it's not as though the midfield was ineffective, but there needs to be a different approach.

4. Iniesta. Get up. I love you but you were on the ground for half the game. I understand you are half the size of the rest of the players on the field, but so is Messi and he doesn't fall half as much as you do. Either grown 5 inches and gain 40 pounds by the next game or just expect to get knocked around and when you do, get up.

5. Where is Fabregas? Is his leg still broke? Spain needs to mix things up and he might be the perfect solution.

6. Well, at least there is more drama now. The second round got that much more interesting. Mexico v. France; US v. Slovenia; Ivory Coast v. Brazil; Chile v. Switzerland and Spain v. Honduras.

7. To quote every media outlet right now: "No team has ever won the World Cup after losing their first match." Whatever. If anything, this was exactly what Spain needed. They are too cocky as a National Team. Don't count them out. They are about to let the Led out.

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1 comment:

  1. What bothered me most was that they didn't come up with a plan B during the game. They made a few substitutions but stuck with the same gameplan that simply wasn't working.

    I thought Torres looked really rusty. His first touch was very heavy. Hopefully he can get back to full strength quickly and the midfield struggles are resolved.

    Switzerland's goal had a bit of luck to it but you need that in the World Cup.


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