Sunday, June 16, 2013

16 June 2010 - But It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish That Matters

On 16 June 2010, Spain started the World Cup with a shocking 1-0 loss to Switzerland. But it turned out to be their only loss of the tournament.

The reigning European champions, Spain carried a lot of expectations into the World Cup, with many people considering them the heavy favorites to win the tournament. Few thought that Switzerland would present much of a challenge to them, even though they had advanced to the Round of 16 in 2006 and won their qualification group.

But when the two teams met in Durban, the Swiss provided one of the tournament's biggest upsets. Although Spain dominated possession (67% to 33%) and outshot Switzerland 22 to 6, the day's only goal came from Swiss midfielder Gelson Fernandes (pictured) in the 52nd minute, when he reached the ball after a goalmouth scramble and fired it home just before Spanish keeper Iker Casillas could knock it away.

Not content to sit on their lead, Switzerland pressed forward and almost doubled their lead with a shot that hit the post. Spain, meanwhile, almost found an equalizer, but were denied by the bar.The 1-0 final was Switzerland's first-ever win over Spain.

Spain apparently took the loss as a wake-up call, going on to win every one of their remaining matches to lift the cup, while Switzerland followed the victory with a draw and a loss to exit the tournament at the end of the group stage.

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