What We Learned From Chile vs Switzerland (1-0)

Once More Unto The Breech

More than any team here, Switzerland epitomise the defensive element of the Mourinho Doctrine. They have the most successful defence in World Cup history, indeed they went through the whole of the last World Cup without conceding a goal. Chile’s task was simple, break down the defence and win the match, all it would take would be one goal and that would be that. Because while Switzerland have full mastery of the defensive arts, they have the sort of blunt, snub-nosed attack that would embarrass a pub team. Remember that World Cup where they didn’t concede? Well they didn’t score either, a feat that made them comfortably the most boring team at Germany 2006 and their last 16 match against the Ukraine was awesomely tedious, the single worst competitive international match ever.

Chile were aided by the sending off of West Ham’s Behrami for sticking his hand around not one, but two players’ faces (both drawing pretty blatant grab and dives). This cramped even Switzerland’s style and you sensed that they would be making even fewer breaks than they did against Spain. The match degenerated into Chilean attack vs Swiss defence, a kind of counterpoint to the second half of the Portugal vs North Korea match, where it wasn’t so much a case of how many can Chile score as how many will Switzerland stop. And bizarrely it was quite compellingly gripping. And it even had the right result, Chile, whose football is based on the philosophy of ‘Attack’, ended up scoring and, a single chance aside, Switzerland never looked like getting back into the game.  Now this group is wide open, you have to back the Swiss to beat Honduras (as should Spain), so it will all boil down to Chile vs Spain, the final match of the Group Stage.  Awesome.

Out Come The Cheats

As the games become more meaningful, so the blatant cheating comes to the fore. This World Cup has seen the rise of the spontaneous face grab and dive (with optional double roll and pike). Yesterday we saw various grab and dives from both the Ivory Coast and the Brazillians, the worst being Kieta’s obvious playacting after he had run into Kaka (embarrassment at running into another player when he could obviously have avoided him hasn’t been ruled out as the reason behind Kieta’s behaviour). Here, in a match that obviously mattered, where the winners were pretty much guaranteed a place in the Knockout Stages, and with a really pernickety ref the cheating came out big time. With players being booked for pretty minor infractions, any grab and dive was likely to bring out the cards and massively upset the opposition. Despite this, however, Kieta is still King of the Cheats.

31 Down 33 To Go 30 Teams Remaining

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