World Cup Recap - Switzerland vs. Honduras|
(Friday, June 25th)
Final Score: Switzerland 0, Honduras 0
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - Switzerland posted its second
shutout of the FIFA World Cup, but was eliminated after a 0-0 tie in its Group
H finale against Honduras on Friday at Free State Stadium.
The Swiss upset Spain in their World Cup opener, 1-0, but lost to Chile 1-0 in
their second match and failed to post a needed win against winless Honduras on
the last day of the group stage.
Switzerland allowed just one goal in South Africa, and has posted shutouts in
six of its last seven World Cup games.
Switzerland finished third in the group behind Spain and Chile, while Honduras
finished last with just one point. Spain beat Chile 2-1 on Friday in the other
group match to win the group on goal differential.
"We were fired up for this one, and we concentrated hard in training," Swiss
coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said. "I had a good feeling about the match, but we
didn't start at all well. Our challenges were a little timid and we couldn't
get the final ball away in attack. We built up a head of steam in the second
half, but that handed our opponents chances on the break, so it was end-to-end
stuff for a time. But to score, you also need a little bit of luck, and we
were out of luck today. And overall, we have to be honest and say we've not
performed at a level which would justify a place in the last 16."
Switzerland was the more aggressive side from the start and Gokhan Inler fired
wide from 18 yards on the first scoring chance in the 11th minute.
Eren Derdiyok followed with a header wide of the left post in the 17th, then a
25-yard shot from Tranquillo Barnetta in the 22nd was saved by Honduras goalie
Blaise NKufo, who will join Seattle Sounders FC in MLS after the tournament,
just missed a chance at the far post in the 42nd as the Swiss failed to create
the goal it needed to advance.
David Suazo had a chance for Honduras but shot wide of the left post in the
53rd, and Barnetta wasted a counter attack in the 60th with an effort wide
left as the teams each traded chances to open the second half.
The Swiss started pressuring for the game-winner, with Derdiyok and substitute
Hakan Yakin wasting chances in a three-minute stretch.
Honduras responded with another chance in the 71st but, after Edgar Alvarez
found Suazo in the area, Swiss goalie Diego Benaglio made a spectacular one-
handed save to push the open look over the bar.
Alexander Frei, who entered late in the match for Switzerland, hit a shot over
the bar in the 73rd with Valladares off his line, and then missed a chance at
the left post in the 75th with a shot wide left.
Stephan Lichsteiner sent a speculative effort off target in the 80th, and then
Derdiyok had a ball fall to him in the middle of the area in the 85tth but was
not able to settle it for a shot on goal.
Yakin wasted a free kick in the 89th for Switzerland, and then Honduras nearly
stole its first World Cup victory. Georgie Welcome had a late shot deflected
over the bar, and then a corner kick go right through the six-yard box, just
out of the reach of Osman Chavez and Welcome.
Yakin wasted Switzerland's last chance with a shot right at Valladares, as the
team's second shutout of the tournament was not enough to seal advancement.
Honduras earned its first point in South Africa, but leaves its second World
Cup still without a win. The Hondurans tied two matches in 1982 in their only
"It was a very exciting match," Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda said. "We could
have come away with more than a point, but we only got going once it was too
late. We failed to make the most of our chances. On the one hand, that's due
to the inexperience of some of my players, and on the other hand, we tried to
do things on our own at times when it would have been better to look for a
team-mate. I'm very disappointed, but we can still be proud of that
06/25 23:41:14 ET