Spain’s opening match was a a disappointing one for the European champions. Although they had more chances to score, they could not break down a well drilled and stubborn Switzerland defence. Monday night gave them a chance to make things right. And they certainly did. A brilliant performance from David Villa leading the line was only marred by a penalty miss that would have given the new Barcelona striker his hat trick. Despite only winning by two goals, not as emphatic as people may have expected, this was a dominant performance from Spain and they look to take a hold on the tournament. They worked the ball around nicely, stretching the Honduran defence, bringing the best out of one of the minnows of the tournament. We also saw an early contender for goal of the tournament too. Villa’s jinking run took him past four or five baffled defenders, before hitting a shot, as he was falling over, curling it around the goalkeeper, who had no chance.
Switzerland, who had provided a very good defensive display in their opening game, were up against Chile, who had been the surprise package so far, with their fluent attacking football. It was more of the same from both teams, with an added helping of a yellow card for every fouled committed. The referee, trying his best to ruin the game, was prevented from doing so by a good battle between defence and attack. The Swiss had been reduced to ten men early on, when Valon Behrami saw probably one of the more merited cards for swinging an elbow, not once, but twice. From then on, Switzerland were playing with their backs to the wall, with Chile constantly coming at them. A combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept Chile at bay until late on when Mark Gonzalez headed in at the back post. A short period of Swiss fightback at the end was to no avail, and Chile ran out 1-0 winners, leaving Group H with an intriguing situation with the two qualifying spots being fought over between all four teams.
The result of the day however, was in Group G. North Korea, who had put up a courageous display against Brazil, only to be finally be picked apart by Maicon’s cross/shot, were up against Portugal who shared a 0-0 draw with Ivory Coast in their opening match. This match was to be similar to neither. North Korea started the match off quite well, but it was Portugal who drew first blood. A Raul Meireles goal was all that separated the teams at half time. The second half was a different story altogether. Portugal were emphatic, and North Korea simply had no answer. Six second half goals, including a first international goal for Cristiano Ronaldo in two years rounded off a fantastic display from Portugal, to send North Korea out of the World Cup on only their second appearance.