Like an attractive older auntie who’s had too much yaegermeister at Thanksgiving, Group H is beginning to show a bit too much leg for everybody’s comfort.
Firstly, the Rojas are still rocking at the top of the group as they came through their test against the suddenly serious Swiss. The 1-0 scoreline probably flatters the mountain men but the main talking point was the controversial sending off of Valon Behrami for a non-existent elbow on Arturo Vidal. What made the offense even worse was that the referee consulted the linesman who also saw something that didn’t actually happen and concurred with the crazy decision. This pretty much ended the match as a contest and the Swiss closed ranks but to little avail as South-African born Mark Gonzalez headed in the deciding goal to give Chile their first second round qualification since they hosted the tournament in 1962.
Spain also awoke from their self-imposed slumber taking on the Group H whipping boys Honduras in an attempt to gain some much needed traction and goal difference in the suddenly interesting group. David Villa scored twice for them and missed a penalty but he would be more grateful for something the officials missed – his full-handed bitch-slap on a Honduran at the end of the first half. FIFA have also declined to take action which could be significant in the Showdown with Chile in the final match.
Spain’s qualification is by no means assured. Switzerland will most likely beat Honduras and depending on how many goals they rack up, Spain will have to beat Chile and match the Swiss’s score at least, although they have a one goal advantage over the Swiss to start. Not that an attack-minded Chile will lie-down and roll over. The prize for winning the group won’t just be progression in the tournament. It’s avoiding Brazil.
Another reason to take off early on Friday afternoon.
Guy Bailey is a senior writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.