Chile 1 – 0 Switzerland
Two main things stand out to me about this match:
1) The ref was a bit card happy, giving out 6 yellows to Chile and 3 yellows plus one red to Switzerland. This is not because the players were brutally fouling each other left and right, though it was a chippy match. Many of these cards were questionable, and it seemed to me that the ref felt the way to keep the game under control was to fling cards around. The sending off of Valon Behrami in the 31st was unwarranted, in my opinion, leaving the Swiss a man down for 2/3 of the match.
2) And this might be mean of me, but the main image in my mind from this game is Alexis Sanchez running to the touchline to celebrate a goal all by himself…for at least 30 seconds…before finally turning to head back to the pitch and realizing his goal had been disallowed since he’d been offside. It’s not schadenfreude or anything – quite honestly, there just wasn’t much else to take away from this match.
Chile had the better of possession, shots and set pieces, and did dominate the match for large parts of it. The Swiss seemed mostly focused on defense, which is fine, but also just not very interesting. It was mentioned by @championsonfox that the Swiss hadn’t given up a goal in 551 World Cup minutes, going back to the ’94 knockout round where they lost 3-0 to Spain. However, as I pointed out, they weren’t even at the ’98 or ’02 Cups, so while it was still an impressive element of the strong defense strategy, it’s not as awe-inspiring when you realize it only involved the group matches of ’06 and their first match and a half here. And really, after their surprising win over Spain I expected more of an attack out of them, maybe assuming they would want to prove that result wasn’t a lucky fluke or something. But perhaps it was – Chile put on the better show, continuing the impressive run of form from South American sides.
I hope this isn’t too sappy, but I’ll be very glad if Chile advances and does well, considering the horror that country went through with the massive earthquake followed by eleventy-million aftershocks back in February. They’re are at the top of their group now, and if Spain and Honduras end in a draw today, Chile moves on to the Round of 16.