Chile vs. Switzerland  1 - 0

Report

The two sides traded blows in a very chippy match early on, but the game turned on its head in the 31st minute when Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami was sent off by Saudi referee Khalil al-Ghamdi for throwing his arm into the face of Arturo Vidal.

From that point forward, the Chileans poured forward with the organized Swiss doing everything possible to keep the scoreline 0-0 and earn a valuable point.

Four minutes into the second half, Alexis Sánchez thought he had given Chile the lead when his deflected drive from 25 yards found the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside against teammates obstructing goalkeeper Diego Benaglio's view.

The match also saw Carlos Carmona and Matías Fernández earn bookings that will see them miss the game with Spain, but one moment in the 75th minute made their absence an easier pill to swallow.

A nice throughball played substitute Esteban Paredes in on goal, and after luring Benaglio off his line, he crossed to the far post where CSKA Moscow's Mark González nodded home.

There were nervous moments in the final minute, though, when Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok missed the target from the center of the area with only goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to beat.

Article

Chile beat Swiss 1-0, close in on last 16 place

21 June 2010 18:00

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) - Chile took a huge step towards qualifying for the World Cup last 16 on Monday after defeating Switzerland 1-0 in their Group H match.

A second-half goal by former Liverpool player Mark Gonzalez was enough to give the Chileans a second win in as many matches as the Swiss finished the match with 10 men after West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami was red carded in the first-half.

Chile can qualify automatically later on Monday should Spain and Honduras draw - the Swiss are still in contention ahead of the final group match with Honduras as they have three points.

Article

Chile and 10-man Switzerland goalless at half-time

21 June 2010 17:05

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) - Chile and Switzerland were goalless at half-time in their World Cup Group H tie here on Monday with the Swiss down a man after Valon Behrami was sent off.

The West Ham midfielder was given his marching orders by Saudi Arabian referee Khalil Al Ghamdi for a tangle with Arturo Vidal after he appeared to elbow the Bayer Leverkusen player in the face on the half hour mark.

The South Americans, who had impressed with their attacking passion in their opening 1-0 win over Honduras, had the first shot on target when Italy-based Carlos Carmona fired in from 20m, the ball safely scooped up by Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio.

Carmona then ensured he would miss Chile's closing Group H match with Spain on Friday by picking up a yellow card for a challenge on Behrami in the 21st minute to add to the one he received last week.

After Behrami's red card Chile tried to make their superior numerical advantage pay before the break, attacking the stout Swiss defence in droves with Alexis Sanchez creating plenty of openings.

Four minutes before the interval Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld made a tactical switch, pulling off striker Alexander Frei and replacing the team captain with Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta.

Article

Hitzfeld blasts play actor Vidal for Behrami red

21 June 2010 13:30

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) - Ottmar Hitzfeld laid the blame for Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami's red card in Monday's 1-0 loss to Chile firmly at the door of Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal.

West Ham's Behrami was sent off after half an hour for appearing to elbow Vidal in the face.

After the tussle Vidal of Bayer Leverkusen fell to the ground, with Saudi Arabia referee Saudi Arabian referee Khalil Al Ghamdi promptly giving Behrami his marching orders.

The incident swung the game in Chile's favour with the South Americans making their numerical supremacy pay with a 75th-minute goal from Mark Gonzalez.

Hitzfeld though was incensed with the behaviour of Vidal.

"I was angry about the red card, of course I was angry," he said. "I was only two metres away when Vidal fell down with a lot of drama.

"It wasn't a red card, it wasn't even a yellow card. It was unfair of Vidal to roll around on the ground asking for the red card.

"With 11 players against 11 we would have had our chances."

Behrami himself not surprisingly completely agreed with Hitzfeld's take on the incident.

"I said sorry to my teammates and they told me 'you don't need to apologise for that because it was astonishing'," said Behrami.

"Vidal was acting. In the tackle I was going for the ball, I had no need to touch him. I felt a contact and I lost my balance so I moved my hands and I touched him here (pointing to his neck) and he put his hand here (pointing to his face) - that is incredible."

Vidal for his part insisted that Behrami had indeed made contact but that the referee had overreacted.

"There was definite contact, but I don't think it should have been a red card, the referee should have given him a yellow."

Hitzfeld refused to attack Al Ghamdi, whose tally of bookings would rise to nine with the red card on top by the end of the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

"I'm a polite man, I'm not going to comment on the referee. All I would say is that some people whistle on the pitch, others should whistle at the beach."

Despite his evident displeasure the 61-year-old German, one of only three managers to win the Champions League with different clubs, praised a Chile side that up to last week's success against Honduras had not won at the World Cup in 48 years.

"It was a very intense match. We knew Chile would be very fast and switch quickly from defence to attack.

"The red card made it very hard for us to defend our goal for another 60 minutes, especially against a side like Chile. We had to be very concentrated in defence, and couldn't really think about attacking play."

He added: "The players are disappointed, they fought very hard, almost beyond their limits with no reward. We've got to come to terms with this defeat and look forward. We still have an excellent chance of qualifying, I'm sure if we beat Honduras we'll go through."

Switzerland almost grabbed an unlikely last minute equaliser when substitute Eren Derdiyok shot just wide of Chile keeper Claudio Bravo's left post.

"We had a 100 percent chance of a goal in the 90th minute," the Swiss boss asserted.

"A 1-1 draw would have been a perfect result and would have been deserved."

Chile manager Marcelon Bielsa refused to be drawn into a slanging match over Vidal, professing complete ignorance of the incident.

"I didn't see what happened from where I was standing," said Bielsa who failed to guide his native Argentina into the second round in the 2002 finals.

"I didn't see it either on the television screen afterwards so I can't comment about this particular incident."

Article

Preview: Chile - Switzerland

20 June 2010 23:16

(GSM) - Group H supremacy is on the line in Port Elizabeth on Monday as Chile and Switzerland square off to see if either side can possibly qualify for the round of 16 with a win.

Switzerland produced the upset of the tournament thus far when they knocked off European champions Spain, 1-0, in their opening game.

Likewise, Chile also got a 1-0 result in their opener against Honduras to leave both sides perfectly level heading into Monday's tussle at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Chile's ultra-attacking style could be a great contrast to Switzerland, who used great counter-attacking and defending to repel the Spanish pressure.

The main question heading into the game for Chile is the health of striker Humberto Suazo, who could step into Marcelo Bielsa's starting XI if he is declared fit prior to kickoff. Otherwise, it is unlikely that Bielsa will alter his squad from the team that played well better than their scoreline against Honduras.

The Swiss, meanwhile, are waiting on Alexander Frei and Valon Behrami to see if either will go against Chile.

Frei picked up an injury before the win over Spain, and Behrami took a knock during the clash. New Fulham signing Philippe Senderos, however, has been ruled out by coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

For Chile, both Carlos Carmona and Matías Fernández are on yellow cards, and Switzerland have four on bookings - Stéphane Grichting, Reto Ziegler, Hakan Yakin and goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

Article

Chile coach Bielsa plotting Swiss downfall

20 June 2010 22:10

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) - When Marcel Bielsa took charge of Chile the first game under his watch was a friendly against Switzerland in Vienna.

In a quirk of fate 33 months later Argentinian Bielsa's adopted country once again cross paths with Switzerland, but this time in South Africa the stakes are higher.

Monday's World Cup tie pits two countries who have kicked off their 2010 campaigns in the best possible fashion, Chile beating Honduras and the Swiss toppling Spain.

With a last 16 ticket for both teams dangling tantalisingly in front of them Bielsa, a noted tactician, has spent large chunks of his time since the opening win studying how to get the better of Ottmar Hitzfeld's giantkillers.

He told a press conference at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium on Sunday: "The Swiss had perfect command of the ball against Spain who had problems attacking as spaces were being reduced.

"They had two defensive lines close to each other, but of course tomorrow's match may not be a replica, we'll have to see."

Chile secured a first World Cup win in 48 years by edging Honduras 1-0 last Wednesday through a late first-half goal from striker Jean Beausejour.

The Group H success ended a 13-game winless run spanning four tournaments for the Chilean 'Reds' since defeating Yugoslavia in 1962 to finish third as hosts.

Star striker Humberto Suazo missed Wednesday's game with injury but Bielsa had encouraging news on the fiery forward.

"Humberto is in better physical shape today, but we can't ignore that he only played 45 minutes in a World Cup warm-up recently against Israel."

Bielsa is intent on guiding Chile into the last 16 as he failed to accomplish that with his native Argentina in 2004.

Hitzfeld has claimed that Chile are favourites and represent a more dangerous threat than even Euro 2008 champions Spain.

Bielsa denied this, saying: "In this World Cup especially there are no favourites, even less so than at other finals."

Article

Red-hot Chile favourites, says Swiss coach Hitzfeld

19 June 2010 19:20

VAAL, South Africa (AFP) - Chile will start as favourites against Switzerland in Monday's World Cup Group H match, Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said on Saturday.

The 61-year-old German - one of only three coaches to have won the Champions League with two different clubs - said that despite his side having beaten European champions Spain 1-0 in their opening match they did not merit being favourites.

Hitzfeld based his claim on Chile's opening 1-0 win over Honduras and their qualifying campaign.

"Switzerland are not favourites, it will be Chile," said Hitzfeld, who won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

"This team really impressed me. Firstly in qualifying. Not many teams end up finishing above Argentina.

"Against Honduras, the Chileans were unbelievable and they could have 3-0 or 4-0 instead of 1-0. They are a solid unit, with very fast players."

Hitzfeld said he expected a more complicated match than against the Spanish where a second-half goal by Gelson Fernandes accounted for the tournament favourites.

"It will be above all more difficult on the mental front. It is imperative that we are totally focused.

"In terms of strategy, we will have to be even more compact than we were against Spain.

"The victory against Spain was an extraordinary moment but will be pointless if we fail to reach the second round."

Hitzfeld, whose contract runs till 2012 and has hinted he would not return to club management, said that he had been hugely proud of his players, who grabbed the win despite the absence of two of their most influential players in striker Alexander Frei and West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami.

"They were utterly fantastic, surpassing themselves. If we look at the statistics, they ran a total of 120 kilometres to the 115 covered by the Spaniards," said Hitzfeld.

"There has been no sense of euphoria among us. We took three points against Spain.

"It is the type of present that one doesn't expect. Nothing is decided in this group. But we have nevertheless a real chance to finish top of the group, which would give us an extra day's rest before the second round," he said.

Switzerland, twice quarter-finalists, round off their group matches against Honduras in Bloemfontein on June 25.