Gelson Fernandes on target as Switzerland upset Spain
Switzerland masterminded the first major upset of the World Cup with a dramatic 1-0 victory over pre-tournament favourites Spain in Group H.
Former Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes scrambled home the winner early in the second half after Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Iker Casillas got in each other’s way in their own penalty area.
As expected, Vincent del Bosque’s side bossed the game in midfield with Xabi Alonso and Xavi dominating proceedings and first half chances were carved out for Pique and David Villa.
Andres Iniesta’s cutting ball found Pique in space on the edge of the Swiss box but the Barcelona centre back poked the ball directly at the sprawled Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.
And minutes later David Villa again failed to trouble Benaglio after initial good work on the right wing.
Switzerland’s unerring concentration and dogged hounding of the Spanish players in their own half ensured there would be no breakthrough before half-time.
Fernandes’ 52nd minute strike prompted del Bosque to introduce Fernando Torres and JesÃƒÂºs Navas and the pair brought renewed energy to the Spanish side. Navas added more width and Torres provided further thrust in attack.
Xabi Alonso struck the bar from a well-worked set piece but it would be the closest Spain would come to an equaliser.
Switzerland heroically battled through five tense minutes of added time to inflict defeat on Spain for only the second time in 48 matches.
“It wasn’t our day,” del Bosque said after the defeat. “We dominated almost all the match. We will have to win the other two matches.”
Spain face Honduras next and will need victory to prove just why they are so heavily-tipped to win the tournament.