Andrew breaks from his summer holidays to join with Jon Holmes from TEAMtalk, Mike Brazier from The Life Junkies and David Cartlidge from SpanishFootball.info to talk about the recent U21 European Championships in Denmark.

We talk about the Champions Spain and what made them so good. The spotlight then turns to the Olympic qualifiers Belarus and Switzerland and who impressed from them.

Also on the agenda is the plight of the English side and what went wrong in Denmark and if anything went well.

To close the show we look at the 2013 tournament in Israel. What can the Israeli people bring to the tournament and what young stars could we be looking at.

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Time for Mike Brazier from The Life Junkies to talk us through the last 48 hours in the European U21 tournament in Denmark.

The second round of fixtures kicked off with Switzerland taking on Iceland. After just scraping a 1-0 win over the Danes, Switzerland were looking to continue their push for the Semi’s while Iceland were under pressure after a poor 2-0 loss to Belarus.

Unfortunately for the Icelanders things got worse straight from the kick off when their defence was caught napping by a looping ball over the top that was struck beautifully into the net by Fabian Frei. The Icelandic defence didn’t learn from the early goal, letting too many balls go over their head and giving the Swiss too much room in and around their area.

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Who said football was finished for the summer. After the Toulon Tournament the European U21 Tournament kicked off in Denmark this week. Mike Brazier from The Life Junkies is our man in Denmark (Cheltenham) for the duration of the tournament. He kicks off by guiding us through the first four matches.

So on Saturday all the waiting was over and the U21 Euros got underway. Some of the best young players in the world have the chance to gain valuable tournament experience and show the world what they can do.

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This article was originally publish on twofootedtackle.com but also wanted to feature it on my own site.

At the age of 21, Valentin Stocker is a name unknown to most people outside of Switzerland. The Swiss Super League is not one of the more glamorous divisions so it is no surprise that the waves Valentin is making at FC Basel haven’t reach our rubbish-strewn shores as of yet.

Two goals against Wales in the recent European Championship Qualifiers may have raised an eyebrow or two. The goals themselves were not blockbusters worthy of mention on TV round-up shows, but showed Stocker continuing to do what he has done all season: playing from the left of midfield he has acquired a knack of being in the right place at the right time.

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Some good game and some bad games, the most important things is for me the best 4 teams from the 2 groups went through and have set up to tasty matches, bring on the Last 16.

PORTUGAL

0

 

BRAZIL

0

         
1.EDUARDO     1.Julio CESAR  
2.Bruno ALVES     2.MAICON  
5.DUDA – Y OUT – 54   3.LUCIO – C  
6.Ricardo CARVALHO     4.JUAN – Y  
7.Cristiano RONALDO     5.Felipe MELO – Y OUT – 44
10.DANNY     6.Michel BASTOS  
15.PEPE – Y OUT – 64   8.Gilberto SILVA  
16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 84   9.Luis FABIANO – Y OUT – 85
19.TIAGO – Y     13.Dani ALVES  
21.Ricardo COSTA     19.Julio BAPTISTA OUT – 82
23.Fabio COENTRAO – Y     21.NILMAR  
         
Subs     Subs  
8.Pedro MENDES IN – 64   17.JOSUE IN – 44
11.SIMAO IN – 54   18.RAMIRES IN – 82
14.Miguel VELOSO IN – 84   23.GRAFITE IN – 85

MY THOUGHTS

Not going to spend long on this game as it was truly awful, only 2 half chances I can think of from Ronaldo and Fabiano, the memory I do have is the referee handing out Yellow card after yellow card, a very scrappy game, one of the truly bad games at this World Cup, the fact that both teams had all but qualified really showed in the performances, Nilmar and Baptista did nothing to push for a starting place, as did Danny for Portugal, Fabio Coentrao played well again, one of the surprising stars so far, really want to see more of him for club and country.

Only high note I can leave this on is that both teams will play again and they won’t play worse, and I expect much much more, or they won’t last long.

KOREA DPR

0

 

COTE D’IVOIRE

3

      Yaya TOURE (14′)  
      ROMARIC (20′)  
      Salomon KALOU (82′)  
         
1.RI Myong Guk     1.Boubacar BARRY  
2.CHA Jong Hyok     3.Artur BOKA  
3.RI Jun Il     4.Kolo TOURE  
4.PAK Nam Chol     5.Didier ZOKORA  
5.RI Kwang Chon     9.Cheik TIOTE  
8.JI Yun Nam     10.GERVINHO OUT – 64
9.JONG Tae Se     11.Didier DROGBA – C  
10.HONG Yong Jo     13.ROMARIC OUT – 79
11.MUN In Guk OUT – 67   18.Kader KEITA OUT – 64
13.PAK Chol Jin     19.Yaha TOURE  
17.AN Yong Hak     21.Emmanuel EBOUE  
         
Subs     Subs  
16.KIM Kum Il IN – 67   15.Aruna DINDANE IN – 64
      7.Seydou DOUMBIA IN – 79
      8.Salomon KALOU IN – 64

MY THOUGHTS

Despite all the connetations of what the Cote D’Ivoire could do to qualify in my eyes it was always a nothing game, CIV were never going to score 8 and Portugal were never going to ship lots of goals, it was nice though for Drogba and his men to get a well deserved victory in this tournament, the only down side for me was the appearance of Kader Keita, he who feigned injury causing Kaka’ to get sent off, a disgraceful bit of simulation, I would have expected FIFA to ban keita for at least the next match, after some internet searching it seems that FIFA have said nothing about the incident, so a note to all players at the World Cup It seems trying to get someone sent off in a match is encourage in this tournament so keep up the good work, god FIFA boil my blood at times.

Anyway back to the football, I thought Yaya Toure took his goal really well placing the shot rather than trying to smash it, was a nice finish, for the Romaric goal the way Drogba took the ball down was superb, a deft touch and a wonderful shot so unlucky it didn’t go in Romaric was there to head the ball in so Drogba’s effort was not wasted, from the highlights I saw Gervinho looked very dangerous again and I look forward to him having another great season for Lille, on a different day he could have had 2 or 3 goals.

Artur Boka’s performance today sort of brings Sven’s lineup choices up again, Boka played in 3 great balls that set up the 3 goals, Tiene set up no goals in the 2 games he played, Gervinho should not have been dropped after the Portugal game and maybe these choice cost Ivory Coast a place in the last 16, this group shows apart from drawing a tough, the fixtures can play a part also, I wonder if Ivory Coast’s last  game had been against Brazil or Portugal if the standing would have looked any different, a lot harder to play Brazil when they need to win the game as Eriksson’s man found out in Jo’burg.

Korea DPR lie bottom of the group, I feel sorry for them, not disgraced in the first game and things looked good for them, positives will be #9 Jong Tae-Se #10 Hong and the #8 Ji all played well in the 3 games, shame Jong couldn’t get his World Cup goal, maybe next time.

SWITZERLAND

0

 

HONDURAS

0

         
1.Diego BENAGLIO     18.Noel VALLADARES  
2.Stephane LICHSTEINER     2.Osman CHAVAZ – Y  
5.Steve VON BERGEN     3.Maynor FIGUEROA  
6.Benjamin HUGGEL OUT – 78   5.Victor BERNARDEZ  
7.Tranquillo BARNETTA     6.Hendry THOMAS – Y  
8.Gokhan INLER     7.Ramon NUNEZ OUT – 67
10.Blaise N’KUFO OUT – 69   8.Wilson PALACIOS – Y  
13.Stephane GRICHTING     10.Jerry PALACIOS OUT – 78
16.Gelson FERNANDES – Y OUT – 46   11.David SUAZO – Y OUT – 87
17.Reto ZIEGLER     16.Mauricio SABILLON  
19.Eren DERDIYOK     17.Edgar ALVAREZ  
         
Subs     Subs  
15.Hakin YAKIN IN – 46   12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 78
23.Xherdan SHAQIRI IN – 78   15.Walter MARTINEZ IN – 67
9.Alexander FREI IN – 69   19.Danilo TURCIOS IN – 87

 

MY THOUGHTS

Only able to watch the 3 minute highlights from the BBC Website, and I think that’ll be enough, doesn’t sound the best game, and it ended a boring nil nil which I am happy with as both Spain and Chile can advance, I hate teams that come to a World Cup to defend, then you defend so much you forget to attack and fail to score against Honduras (no offence) you don’t then deserve to go through at the expense of 2 great attacking teams.

Had to mention David Suazo’s miss, a great cross from Alvarez after he left Gritchting for dead, but the former Inter man could only flick his header wide, need to also mention Benaglio’s save, Alvarez through on goal surely thought he had scored but Diego Benaglio pulled out a tremendous one handed save, possibly the save of the tournament, you need to see it.

Both teams will now go home, and probably deserve to, Honduras showed more attacking ideas than Switzerland, they need to show more going forward in future tournaments, hopefully Honduras will come back stronger with the experience.

CHILE

1

 

SPAIN

2

Rodrigo MILLAR (47′)     David VILLA (24′)  
      Andres INIESTA (37′)  
         
1.Claudio BRAVO     1.Iker CASILLAS  
3.Waldo PONCE – Y     3.Gerard PIQUE  
4.Mauricio ISLA     5.Carles PUYOL  
7.Alexis SANCHEZ OUT – 65   6.Andres INIESTA  
8.Arturo VIDAL     7.David VILLA  
10.Jorge VALDIVIA OUT – 46   8.XAVI  
11.Mark GONZALEZ OUT – 46   9.Fernando TORRES OUT – 55
13.Marco ESTRADA – Y/R     11.Joan CAPDEVILA  
15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR     14.Xavi ALONSO OUT – 73
17.Gary MEDEL – Y     15.Sergio RAMOS  
18.Gonzalo JARA     16.Sergio BUSQUETS  
         
Subs     Subs  
16.Fabian ORELLANA IN – 65   10.Cesc FABERGAS IN – 55
20.Rodrigo MILLAR IN – 46   20.Javi MARTINEZ IN – 73
22.Esteban PAREDES IN – 46      

MY THOUGHTS

Very enjoyable game, Chile started like a house on fire really taking it to Spain in the first 20 minutes, but then found themselves 1 down, after a crazy moment from keeper Bravo the ball fell to David Villa 35 yards out and he curled it beautifully with his left foot swerving into the empty net, Chile then lost their temper and racked up the yellow cards, including 2 for Manual Estrada, the second of which was not deserved Torres ran across him, Estrada was not even looking at Torres, and the Liverpool man fell over Estrada’s feet went down like a tonne of bricks and the Chile midfielder was given his second yellow and his marching orders, a disgraceful decision and could have cost Chile their place, as while Torres was on the groud Villa had set up Iniesta for Spain’s second.

Marco Bielsa had some work to do at half time, calming down his players was the priortity surely, and it looks like it paid off, substitute Rodrigo Millar hit a shot deflected off Pique and over Casillas into the net.

Bielsa’s men had calmed down however it sort of took the edge off the game and it petered out into a nothing last 15 minutes when nothing of note happened, luckily Switzerland could have still been playing and still not scored and both teams went through.

Alexis Sanchez again was lively again the player that was unexpectedly impressed me is the big #15 Beausejour “The Frenchman” they call him has pace and power, a very strong runner, has the ability to deliver a quality cross and he showed against Honduras he has an eye for goal, the 26 year old plays for America in Mexico and has scored 3 goals in 45 games, I’m surprised at the lack of goal, I will be keeping an eye on Jean.

Again Torres didn’t look himself tonight I wonder if Del Bosque will percivere with Fernando or maybe go for Jesus Navas or Pedro and move Villa to the middle for the Portugal surely he can’t start a 70% Torres again.

Portugal will take on Spain and Chile will play Brazil 2 potentially fantastic games, make the mouth wet with anticipation.

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10 goals, 3 games, 1 red card, 1 missed penalty, 1 record broken, and a first goal since February 11th 2009, a great day of football.

PORTUGAL

7

 

KOREA DPR

0

RAUL MEIRELES (29′)        
SIMAO (53′)        
HUGO ALMEIDA (56′)        
TIAGO (60′, 89′)        
LIEDSON (81′)        
Cristiano RONALDO (87′)        
         
1.EDUARDO     1.RI Myong Guk  
2.Bruno ALVES     2.CHA Jong Hyok OUT- 75
6.Ricardo CARVALHO     3.RI Jun Il  
7.Cristiano RONALDO     4.PAK Nam Chol OUT – 58
8.Pedro MENDES – Y     5.RI Kwang Chon  
11.SIMAO OUT – 74   8.JI Yun Nam  
13.MIGUEL     9.JONG Tae Se  
16.Raul MEIRELES OUT – 70   10.HONG Yong Jo – Y  
18.HUGO ALMEIDA – Y OUT – 77   11.MUN In Guk OUT – 58
19.TIAGO     13.PAK Chol Jin – Y  
23.Fabio COENTRAO     17.AN Yong Hak  
         
Subs     Subs  
5.DUDA IN – 74   16.KIM Kum Il IN – 58
9.LIEDSON IN – 77   15.KIM Yong Jun IN – 58
14.Miguel VELOSO IN – 70   16.NAM Song Chol IN – 75

MY THOUGHTS:

I feel quite sorry for the Koreans, they started brightly showing more attacking purpose than against Brazil but come away with nothing to show for it, and their defence collapsed and Portugal kicked off their World Cup with 7 goals, for 20 minutes I thought we could have a shock on the books, but it wasn’t to be, again Jong Tae-Se ran the line on his own, and Korea lined up with what was either a back 4 with a very deep defensive mid, or a flat back 5, but when they got the ball they looked to break with purpose, Portugal seemed to be struggling to penetrate the Korean defences, until Raul Meireles made a great run inbehind and he was found by Tiago and the finish was very neat. Meireles was insprirational all match running from deep, passing the ball really well, along with Tiago they bossed the midfield and was the bass for Portugal’s attacking play, another of the very impressive players was Fabio Coentrao, I picked him out in the last match but he improved again, not being caught out defensively and charging forward and playing in many great crosses one of them setting up Hugo Almeida’s goal as he headed in Fabio’s great cross.

Simao and Tiago’s double added to the scoreline, but it was Ronaldo’s goal that will please the management and fans, his first goal since February 09 and there was a slice of luck to it, after trying to go round the keeper the ball bounced up and landed on his back, he composed himself to place the ball into the empty net, the 7-0 victory pretty much qualifys Portugal, Ivory Coast will have to turn around a 9 goal deficite to qualify, the game against Brazil will decide if it’s in 1st or 2nd.

CHILE

1

 

SWITZERLAND

0

Mark GONZALEZ (75′)        
         
1.Claudio BRAVO     1.Diego BENAGLIO  
3.Waldo PONCE – Y     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
4.Mauricio ISLA     5.Steve VON BERGEN  
6.Carlos CARMONA – Y     6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.Alexis SANCHEZ     8.Gokhan INLER – Y  
8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 46   9.Alexander FREI OUT – 42
9.Humberto SUAZO – Y OUT – 46   10.Blaise N’KUFO – Y OUT – 68
14.Matias FERNANDEZ – Y OUT – 65   11.Valon BEHRAMI – R  
15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR     13.Stephane GRICHTING  
17.Gary MEDEL – Y     16.Gelson FERNANDES OUT- 77
18.Gonzalo JARA     17.Reto ZIEGLER  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Jorge VALDIVIA – Y IN – 46   7.Tranquillo BARNETTA – Y IN – 42
11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 46   18.Albert BUNJAKU IN – 77
22.Esteban PAREDES IN – 65   19.Eren DERDIYOK IN – 68

MY THOUGHTS:

Before the start of the world cup would anyone have thought the second group game between Chile and Switzerland would have seen both teams top of the group, the Swiss again stuck to their defensive style tactics, not great for the spectator but great for frustrating attacking teams like Spain and Chile and the possibilties of the Swiss attacking was all but ruled out when Valron Behrami was sent off for throwing an elbow at 2 Chile players, the first was a bit tame, but it looks like he really connected with the second and my instincts were it was a red, maybe a little soft from the replays, but you can’t lift your hands, this put the Swiss in a 4-4-1 formation, parking the bus so to speak and hoping to frustrate the Chile attack.

The first half remained goalless and this saw Switzerland 22 minutes from breaking a World Cup record the most time ever without conceding a goal, 4 clean sheets in 2006 and 1 against Spain in 2010, unsurprisingly the reached that mark and now hold the record not exactly as impressive when you learn they only scored 1 goal in these 6 matches, not the most fan friendly football, luckly they only lasted another 8 minutes, substitute Esteban Paredes got to the byline, crossed to the back post and Mark Gonzalez was there to head into the net, a well deserved goal and it was the start of the Chile bombardment, Alexis Sanchez was very impressive again and had a couple of half chance and also a goal disallowed  unfairly for offside, his goal is coming you can bank on that, and should find more space against the Spanish, Valdivia was also a stand out player once he came on, showing neat little touches and skill and helped to open that stubborn Swiss defence.

For all Chile’s attacking play and the Swiss being a man down, they’re chance came in injury time, Erin Dedriyok found himself unmarked 12 yards out, it seemed harder to miss, but miss he did, the goal would have been against the run of play and it shows why you have to finish off teams when you are so dominant.

It will be interesting to see how Switzerland play against Honduras knowing they will be the better team and need to attack instead of defending, Dedriyok will have a chance to redeem himself and maybe Alexander Frei’s bad luck will end, Lichtsteiner and Ziegler were very impressive in the full back position and will have a great chance to get forward, Switzerland have the players to trouble teams when they go for it, I can’t see them slipping up, will all go down to goal difference.

SPAIN

2

 

HONDURAS

0

David VILLA (17′, 51′)        
         
1.Iker CASILLAS     18.Noel VALLADARES  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Osman CHAVAZ  
5.Carles PUYOL     3.Maynor FIGUEROA  
7.David VILLA     8.Wilson PALACIOS   
8.XAVI OUT- 66   11.David SUAZO OUT – 84
9.Fernando TORRES OUT – 70   13.Roger ESPINOZA OUT – 46
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     15.Walter MARTINEZ  
14.Xavi ALONSO     19.Danilo TURCIOS – Y OUT – 63
15.Sergio RAMOS OUT – 77   20.Amado GUEVARA  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS     21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE – Y  
22.Jesus NAVAS     23.Sergio MENDOZA  
         
Subs     Subs  
10.Cesc FABERGAS IN – 66   7.Ramon NUNEZ IN – 63
12.Victor VALDES IN – 70   10.Jerry PALACIOS IN – 84
13.Juan MATA IN – 77   12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 46

MY THOUGHTS:

It was a time for redemption, Spain failed to live up to their own high expectations in the first match, and have been criticised heavily for it, they came out all guns blazing looking at Sergio Ramos heat map on FIFA.com shows he was very rarely near his own box, constantly attacking down the right, combining with Jesus Navas, these two cause no end of problems, and with David Villa cutting in from the left it spelt bad news for the Hondurans, realistically it could have been 4 or 5, Villa’s goal was a superb solo run and needs to be seen, the second came just after half time and had a slight deflection, however Torres, Xavi and Villa again himself had many chances to score, not forgetting Villa’s missed penalty, a great Spanish performance but they need to finish better.

My hat goes off to Honduras, they didn’t just sit and defend they tried to attack, long searching balls for David Suazo he never really got a chance to go at Puyol and Pique, Chavez in defence looked good, a few goal saving tackles, and could do better in a good club side, also Nunez that came on was very bright, tried to get involved showed some nice touches, would like to see more of him, the Honduarans should hold their heads up high they have not been disgraced and for 45 mins when it was 1-0 one Spanish slip could have brought them back into it, they should be proud of themselves and go out against the Swiss and try and get something.

We could get the scenario that 3 teams have 6 points and it would go down to goal difference, if the Swiss can score some goals they could knock out Chile or Spain, not an advert for attacking football but an advert for organisation and discipline.

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Personally the most disappointing day of the World Cup for me, was back at work today, so having to watch the games while working is not the best way to assess players and how they play, my plan was to record the games and watch them all back, however leaving the house today I forgot to set the recording, so the South Africa v Uruguay game, is the only one I’ve got to watch in all it’s HD glory, and it’s hard to watch games when you already know the score and in an office of football fans, so just gonna have to bear with it and watch as much as I can.

HONDURAS

0

 

CHILE

1

         
      Jean BEAUSEJOUR (34′)  
         
18.Noel VALLADARES     1.Claudio BRAVO  
2.Osman CHAVAZ     3.Waldo PONCE  
3.Maynor FIGUEROA     4.Mauricio ISLA  
7.Ramon NUNEZ OUT – 78   6.Carlos CARMONA – Y  
8.Wilson PALACIOS - Y     7.Alexis SANCHEZ  
9.Carlos PAVON OUT – 60   8.Arturo VIDAL OUT – 81
13.Roger ESPINOZA     10.Jorge VALDIVIA OUT – 87
17.Edgar ALVAREZ     14.Matias FERNANDEZ - Y  
20.Amado GUEVARA OUT – 66   15.Jean BEAUSEJOUR  
21.Emilio IZAQUIRRE     17.Gary MEDEL  
23.Sergio MENDOZA     20.Rodrigo MILLAR OUT – 52
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Ricardo CANALES     2.Ismael FUENTES  
4.Johnny PALACIOS     5.Pablo CONTRERAS IN – 81
5.Victor BERNARDEZ     9.Humberto SUAZO  
6.Hendry THOMAS IN – 66   11.Mark GONZALEZ IN – 87
10.Jerry PALACIOS     12.Miguel PINTO  
11.David SUAZO     13.Marco ESTRADA  
12.Georgie WELCOME IN – 60   16.Fabian ORELLANA  
14.Oscar Boniek GARCIA     18.Gonzalo JARA IN – 52
15.Walter MARTINEZ IN – 78   19.Gonzalo FIERRO  
16.Mauricio SABILLON     21.Rodrigo TELLO  
19.Danilo TURCIOS     22.Esteban PAREDES  
22.Donis ESCOBER     23.Luis MARIN  

MY THOUGHTS:

Was really impressed with the football Chile played today, they 3-1-3-3 formation Bielsa plays worked an absolute treat, when they were going forward at times the man on the ball had 6 players in front of him to pass to, the players always kept moving, the passing and movement was great, Honduras did their best and showed they are no light-weights trying to hit Chile on the break whenever they could, they just didn’t have the quality to take advantage.

Valladares made one of the best saves not even in this tournament but EVER! Chile looked certain to make it 2-0 but Valladares’s diving save kept his team in the game giving them a chance to earn a point, however his efforts were in vain, the Premier League duo of Palacios and Figueroa weren’t impressive Maynor playing at Centre Back and not on the left as usual, Honduras missed the talents of David Suazo the pacey stiker would have made a big difference.

Can’t say how much Chile impressed me today Sanchez, Valdivia, Fernandez and Vidal all played superbly, Valdivia deputising for qualification top scorer Humberto Suazo impressed never seen him before, but he looked more like a playmaker than a striker, coming off the front to create chances, the best player on the pitch was Alexis Sanchez, fast, tricky very very skillful he was a trouble for the Hondurian’s all game, was unlucky not to score, but if he plays like that in the next two games, I can’t see him not scoring.

SPAIN

0

 

SWITZERLAND

1

         
      Gelson FERNANDES (52′)  
         
1.Iker CASILLAS     1.Diego BENAGLIO – Y  
3.Gerard PIQUE     2.Stephane LICHSTEINER  
5.Carles PUYOL     4.Philippe SENDEROS OUT – 36
6.Andres INIESTA OUT – 77   6.Benjamin HUGGEL  
7.David VILLA     7.Tranquillo BARNETTA OUT – 92
8.XAVI     8.Gokhan INLER  
11.Joan CAPDEVILA     10.Blaise N’KUFO  
14.Xavi ALONSO     13.Stephane GRICHTING – Y  
15.Sergio RAMOS     16.Gelson FERNANDES  
16.Sergio BUSQUETS OUT – 61   17.Reto ZIEGLER – Y  
21.David SILVA OUT – 62   19.Eren DERDIYOK OUT – 79
         
Subs     Subs  
2.Raul ALBOIL     12.Marco WOEFLI  
4.Carlos MARCHENA     21.Johnny LEONI  
9.Fernando TORRES IN – 61   3.Ludovic MAGNIN  
10.Cesc FABERGAS     5.Steve VON BERGEN IN – 36
12.Victor VALDES     14.Marco PADOLINO  
13.Juan MATA     15.Hakin YAKIN – Y IN – 79
17.Alvaro ARBELOA     18.Albert BUNJAKU  
18.PEDRO IN – 77   20.Pirmin SCHWEGLER  
19.Fernando LLORENTE     22.Marco EGGIMANN IN – 92
20.Javi MARTINEZ     23.Xherdan SHAQIRI  
22.Jesus NAVAS IN – 62   9.Alexander FREI  
23.Pepe REINA     11.Valon BEHRAMI  

MY THOUGHTS:

Well I don’t think anyone predicted this score today, a definite coupon buster, Spain threw pretty much everything at the Swiss defence 63% possession and 22 shots on goal, usually would be enough to win any match, however the defence unlike the cheese didn’t have any holes in it. Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Gritching and Ziegler were superb the whole game stopping the Spanish Armada finding any clear cut chances, most shots that got through were luckily aimed straight at keeper Benaglio.

Barnetta, Inler and Fernandes worked tirelessly in the midfield in defence and going forward, and when the chance arose Fernandes was there to snatch the dream start from the Spanish, N’Kufo played the target man job well causing Puyol and Pique problems and helping the team break forward.

Spain at times bombarded the Swiss box, Iniesta played very well bamboozaling the defence at times just unable to find that killer pass, Xavi Alonso played pretty well controlling the midfield most of the game and also rattled the crossbar with a rocket of a shot, Villa looked very isolated upfront on his own, not getting the service, there comes a time when crossing the ball into the middle of two tall centre backs just isn’t the answer anymore but Spain kept trying, Torres when he came on looked at about 60% fitness, I beleive Spain wouldn’t have tried him out till at least the 3rd group game.

Going to be very hard for Spain to win the group now and a potential meeting with Brazil could be on the horizon, and he would all love that.

SOUTH AFRICA

0

 

URUGUAY

3

         
      Diego FORLAN (24′, 80′ PEN)  
      Alvaro PEREIRA (90′ + 5)  
         
16.Itumeleng KHUNE – R     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Siboniso GAXA     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Tsepo MASILELA     3.Diego GODIN  
4.Aaron MOKOENA     4.Jorge FUCILE OUT – 71
8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA     7.Edinson CAVANI OUT – 89
9.Katlego MPHELA     9.Luis SUAREZ  
10.Steven PIENAAR – Y OUT – 79   10.Diego FORLAN  
11.Teko MODISE     11.Alvaro Pereira  
12.Reneilwe LETSHOLONYANE OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ OUT – 90
13.Kagisho DIKGACOI – Y     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
20.Bongani KHUMALO     17.Egidio AREVALO  
         
Subs     Subs  
1.Moneeb JOSEPHS IN – 79   5.Walter GARGANO IN – 90
5.Anele NGCONGCA     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
6.MacBeth SIBAYA     8.Sebastian EGUREN  
7.Lance DAVIDS     12.Juan CASTILLO  
14.Matthew BOOTH     13.Sebastian ABREU  
15.Lucas THWALA     14.Nicolas LODEIRO  
17.Bernard PARKER     18.Ignacio GONZALEZ  
18.Siyabonga NOMVETE     19.Andres SCOTTI  
19.Surprise MORIRI IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 71
21.Siyabonga SANGWENI     21.Sebastian FERNANDEZ IN – 89
22.Shu-Aib WALTERS     22.Martin CACERES  
23.Thanduyise KHUBONI     23.Martin SILVA  

MY THOUGHTS:

Not the best game ever but a fantastic night for Uruguyans, Forlan has played 2 fantastic games and led his team to potentially a place in the last 16, Forlan’s slightly deflected shot opened the scoring and broke South African hearts, the Bafana Bafana never recovered from this, they just never got going at any stage, the fire from the opening game was just never there, the cold Pretoria air seemed to cool down the hosts.

Tshabalala tried his best in the first half tryin to be the spark in the team, but a few shots he had went wayward, after this he went as cold as the air night, Pienaar and Modise were very quiet, Letholonyane and Dikacgoi were solid for most of the game but Dikacgoi the Fulham man lost his desire after his booking and never looked the same.

With the likes of Bernard Parker and Siyabonga Nomvete you would think Pareira would have changed it up and gave the hosts a chance, but he never did and now a win against France and other results going their way will save South Africa from becoming the first home nation from going out in the Group Stage.

The back four of Uruguay looked more comfortable than the three that played against France, with Diego Perez superb as the anchor man this gave the platform for Forlan, Suarez and Cavani to forge forward, as much as Forlan impressed Suarez was ineffectual, also going down under challenges too easily, I have been expecting more from the Ajax man, Cavani played better, looking to link up with his attack partners troubled the South African back line, a little flick on that helped Suarez win the penalty, but it was all about Forlan, he was superb, leading his team, the oldest man on the pitch was a pillar of experience, his goal spurnned himon, he stayed calm in the 5 minutes he had to wait to take his penalty in which he dispatched expertly, top scorer in the tournament, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 4 or 5 in South African.

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