(Results of the day: Honduras 0-1 Chile, Spain 0-1 Switzerland, South Africa 0-3 Uruguay)
It took six days for the World Cup to finally become more interesting, as all the three matches for the day showcased a display of belligerent attacking football by one side in each of the fixtures. However, while Chile and Uruguay capped their dominant performance with a win, Spain suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Switzerland, despite enjoying a sizable possession percentage. Vincente Del Bosque now has a daunting task ahead of him – to win the next two matches without fail.
Conquest Of The Day – Switzerland
When the Spaniards let loose their cannons against the Swiss fort, the whole world expected the men in white to capitulate under the onslaught of the La Furia Roja. Instead, the Swiss frontier held resolutely against the wave of attacks by the Spanish front line, producing a brilliant defensive display and assisted by an uncharacteristically wasteful David Villa. Fernandes helped the underdogs to sink the Spanish Armada, when he took advantage of a goal mouth scramble to slot home the winner. Despite Alonso hitting the crossbar, Spain couldn’t crack the Swiss riddle, and only the goal post saved them further embarrassment by blocking Eren Derdiyok’s clever shot. The Euro 2008 champions seemed to have regained their choker status with this poor start.
Goal Of The Day – Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
The striker did not show any signs of the player who endured a forgettable tenure at Old Trafford, delivering a clinical and flawless display against the Bafana Bafana. His long range strike, which appeared to have taken a slight deflection, sent the ball dipping just under the crossbar, leaving a flabbergasted Itumeleng Khune rooted to his spot. And most football fans thought only Cristiano Ronaldo could produce this kind of skill…
Priceless Moment Of The Day – Gelson Fernandes (Switzerland)
This one takes the honours for causing the first major upset of the World Cup. The Swiss strikers took advantage of Spain’s inability to handle long balls, with Eren Derdiyok beating Puyol and Pique to the Spanish box after seizing the goalkeeper’s long range kick. Though the onrushing Casillas was able to block the Swiss striker from shooting, the ball spilled into no man’s land, and Fernandes beat a stranded Pique and a frantic Casillas to send the loose ball home.
Historic Moment Of The Day – Chile
A 34th minute goal by Chilean striker Beausjour was enough to secure a win over Honduras, ending a 48-year wait for a World Cup victory. They managed to grab all three points from a match after 13 successive World Cup tournaments. At the sound of the final whistle, the cheers from the Chilean faithful nearly drowned out the buzz of the vuvuzelas, as the ‘red hot Chile pepper’ players celebrated their well deserved victory with unconcealed elation.
Screw-up Of The Day – Phillippe Senderos (Switzerland)
After a forgettable season in England, where he was absent in all league matches for Arsenal, Senderos hoped to reignite his football career with his national team. Such was the dedication with which the defender performed on the field that he went for the ball at every opportunity, intending to prove that he was back in business. Only, he failed to notice that he had tackled his own teammate, and ended up injuring his ankle in this inexplicable moment of madness – a potential end to his World Cup stint. As he trudged towards the dugout to be substituted, the big Swiss seemed to be cursing himself for his costly tackle. Is he another Titus Bramble in the offing?
Tip Of The Day – Fernando Torres (Spain)
How do you change your appearance with the minimum amount of effort required? Just ask Torres. The Liverpool striker seems to have finally opened his eyes to the negative connotations associated with blondes, and has decided to re-engineer his blonde genes. The solution – trade his long blonde locks for closely cropped brown hair. Once a rosy cheeked and effeminate looking lad, he now resembles a lean and mean striker, a disguise that Ethan Hunt would be proud of. While his female fans would probably disapprove of El Nino’s new avatar, the real football fans will be heaving a sigh of relief not to see a Maria Sharapova (sans the grunts and the miniskirts) on the football pitch.
Trivia Of The Day – Spain
The starting XI for the La Furia Roja comprised of nine players plying their trade for either Real Madrid or Barcelona, with Villareal’s Joan Capdevila and Valencia’s David Silva being the exceptions.