World Cup Recap - Honduras vs. Chile|
(Wednesday, June 16th)
Final Score: Chile 1, Honduras 0
Nelspruit, South Africa (Sports Network) - Chile recorded its first FIFA World
Cup win in 48 years on Wednesday as it beat Honduras, 1-0, in the Group H
opener for both sides at Mbombela Stadium.
Prior to Wednesday's match, a win over Yugoslavia in the third-place game in
the 1962 World Cup marked the last time La Roja won a game at soccer's marquee
Jean Beausejour's goal in the 34th minute for Chile was the difference, and it
came with a bit of good fortune as Honduras defender Sergio Mendoza's
clearance deflected off of Beausejour and went into the net.
However, Chile was the superior team throughout the game and was unlucky not
to add to its one-goal advantage.
Matias Fernandez tested Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares three minutes into
the game with a curling free kick that needed to be tipped over the crossbar.
The next 30 minutes brought about little in the way of scoring chances until a
low cross from Mauricio Isla caused problems.
It was driven to the near post for Beausejour, but Mendoza got to it first,
knocking the ball off the Chile man and into the net.
"I feel bad about the goal because I didn't clear the ball away," said
Mendoza. "I don't think it's a fair result because their goal had a touch of
fortune about it. They didn't make any more chances after that and though we
had some important players out, we never let our heads drop."
It was a bad break for Honduras, although they did nothing offensively until
first-half stoppage time when a free kick from Ramon Nunez was easily
redirected over the crossbar by goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Chile opened things up in the second half and created a number of good
chances, with the first arriving in the 62nd minute.
Alexis Sanchez made a cutting run through the middle of the defense and fired
wide from 12 yards before Valladares pulled off a fantastic save to keep his
side within a goal.
A Fernandez free kick was floated toward the back post for Arturo Vidal, who
headed the ball back across the face of goal for Waldo Ponce. The Chile
defender was just a few yards from goal when he nodded the ball on target, but
Valladares got across to make a great diving save.
Chile had a goal ruled out for a handball 15 minutes from time, and they came
close to adding another in stoppage time when substitute Mark Gonzalez
narrowly shot over the net from the top of the penalty area.
"We overpowered them in every department, but we can't start dreaming of the
second round yet," Bravo said. "Playing in the World Cup is a new experience
and we have to keep our feet on the ground. It was important to win after a
wait of nearly 50 years. That was something we wanted to put right."
Honduras will look to rebound in its second match against Spain on June 21,
while Chile meets Switzerland on the same day in its next World Cup match.
06/16 12:06:31 ET