Almost a great performance from Spain thanks to an almost-cluch performance by one of their star strikers leaves them almost in a good position.
A zig-zagging strike for the ages from David Villa after 17 minutes gave the impression Spain was about to open the floodgates. When he pulled the trigger again, this time sending the ball off a shin and over the keeper, you wondered if Spain would repeat the second half razing by Portugal.
But they didn’t. Instead, David Villa pulled a Lampard and sent a low ball wide of the net on a penalty, costing himself the hat trick and damaging the all-important goal differential for Spain in the process. Further clouding the assessment of his day, Villa appeared to slap at Honduran Emilio Izaguirre right before halftime. Given what happened to Kaita for Nigeria and Kaka for Brazil, that was a risky and stupid decision that could have cost his team his services in a crucial final game.
Sergio Ramos and substitute Cesc Fabregas also blew chances to give Spain a 3 goal lead, and Torres turned in a futile performance, particularly in the first half.
So what to make of Spain? A +2 goal differential going into their match against Chile would’ve forced a defensive Swiss team at a 0 goal diff to really pour it on vs Honduras, a style to which they’re wholly unaccustomed. Instead, it’s +1 for Spain, and they have the tougher task against Chile than Switzerland does against Honduras.
For a co-favorite to win the whole thing, Spain ought not be happy with this result. Their fate is only partially in their hands, and unless they ransack Chile, even the ostensible achievement of advancement could be rewarded with a first round match against Brazil.