Soccer

World Cup 2010: Spain, Switzerland and Chile Fight to See Who Goes Home

Honduras looks dead set to leave South Africa without a point. This could make Group H’s finish incredibly exciting.  The most likely scenario has Spain, Switzerland and Chile all finishing with six points and one of the latter two eliminated on goal difference.

Spain must win. Chile needs only a draw, but can’t change gears to play for one. On paper, this could be intensely attacking. Chile could put Spain in an unusual spot, having to absorb attacks and play on the counter.

Spain looked more dangerous against Honduras. Part of that was because they were playing Honduras, but Fernando Torres was also influential. He’s out of form and hit the target on just one out of nine shots, but he creates space for David Villa who is much more comfortable playing off a target man. With Andres Iniesta returning, Spain may need to drop one of the Busquets-Alonso pairing. For a team that has looked too conservative so far, that may be a good thing.

Chile need to continue what they are doing: press teams, push them back, attack and don’t let them breathe. The key for the Chileans will be precision. In both previous matches, they squandered chance after chance. If they lose to Spain and go out on goal difference, that will haunt them.

Switzerland have a tight defense. Honduras had only two shots on target in the first tow matches. They should not be too troublesome. The issue for the Swiss will be scoring, and scoring multiple goals ensure they advance with the tiebreaker. They will need to reorient their playing style entirely.

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