Switzerland beaten by Chile

Valon Behrami saw red after half an hour Reuters

Switzerland have lost 1-0 to Chile in the second of their three group matches of the 2010 football World Cup.

A goal from Mark Gonzalez in the 75th minute means Chile top Group H with six points and Switzerland remain on three, after surprisingly beating Spain 1-0 on Wednesday.

Also on Monday Spain beat Honduras 2-0 putting them also on three points but above Switzerland because of better goal difference.

All eyes now turn to Friday evening, when Switzerland play Honduras and Spain play Chile.

If Switzerland win, they advance to the next round, although they need to score two goals to guarantee this; if they draw, they must hope that Spain lose; if they lose, they’re going home.

Spain must win on Friday, otherwise Switzerland and Chile go through.

Chile enjoyed the bulk of possession on Monday against ten-man Switzerland at the Nelson Bay Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth but the teams were locked at 0-0 at halftime.

Chile pressed hard for a goal after Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami was sent off in the 31st minute for lifting an arm into an opponent’s face behind him.

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said "the red card was not a red card by my standpoint" and accused the Chilean players of putting on "quite a performance”.

"Getting a red card made it difficult to defend our goal for another 60 minutes, particularly against a team like Chile," he said. "The red card was not even a yellow card. Of course I was angry."

Record

Alexis Sanchez had the best chance in the 40th minute but his tame shot was saved by Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

Then in the 75th minute Paredes broke the offside trap and got round Benaglio, but the angle was too tight. But he calmly picked out Gonzalez at the back post, who nodded down and over Grichting on the line.

Switzerland’s only clear effort on goal came in the 90th minute when substitute Derdiyok wasted a golden chance to equalise from ten metres and with only the Chilean keeper to beat. His shot went a metre wide.

A silver lining to Monday’s defeat is that before Chile scored, Switzerland set a World Cup record in the 69th minute, going 551 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. That broke the previous mark of 550 held by Italy at the 1986 and 1990 tournaments.

Chilean pressure

Chile had all the first-half pressure, even before Behrami's sending-off, with four of nine shots on target, while Switzerland had none of their three shots on target.

Alexis Sanchez appeared to give Chile the lead in the 49th minute, but he was clearly offside. He nearly scored in the 55th on a clear break but was thwarted on the right side by Benaglio, whose stock continues to rise at these championships.

Chile included striker Humberto Suazo in its starting lineup, while Steven Von Bergen replaced injured defender Philippe Senderos for Switzerland. Senderos, who has injured his right ankle, will also miss Switzerland's final group match against Honduras at Bloemfontein on Friday.

Hitzfeld said he was confident of Switzerland advancing.

"I'm sure that if we win against Honduras, we will qualify for the round of 16," he said.

Thomas Stephens, swissinfo.ch

Teams

Switzerland: Diego Benaglio, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Steven Von Bergen, Benjamin Huggel, Gökhan Inler, Alex Frei (Tranquillo Barnetta 42), Blaise Nkufo (Eren Derdiyok 68), Valon Behrami, Stephane Grichting, Gelson Fernandes (Albert Bunkjaku 77), Reto Ziegler.

Chile: Claudio Bravo, Waldo Ponce, Mauricio Isla, Carlos Carmona, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal (Mark Gonzalez 46), Humberto Suazo (Jorge Valdivia 46), Matias Fernandez (Esteban Paredes 65), Jean Beausejour, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara.

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