0

Swiss stun Spaniards, 1-0, in Group H action

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

DURBAN, South Africa -- The World Cup needed a jolt. Switzerland provided it.

Gelson Fernandes scored on a rare Swiss attack, giving his team a stunning 1-0 upset Wednesday over European champion and tournament favorite Spain.

The loss ended Spain's run of 12 straight wins and handed the Spanish just their second loss in 50 games -- the other was to the United States at the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year.

It also provided a thrill at a tournament that has seen few surprises and just 25 goals after the first game for all 32 teams.

"To be fair, I'm not used to scoring goals, so I was a bit surprised," said Fernandes, who got just his second in international play. "It was a bit of luck."

And tenacity. Eren Derdiyok created Switzerland's big chance in the 52nd minute by surging through the center of Spain's defense and rounding Iker Casillas. Gerard Pique's desperate tackle stopped Derdiyok, but Fernandes pounced on the loose ball and forced it into the net.

"It's just a special moment," he said.

Spain badly outshot the Swiss and held the ball 63 percent of the time, but could find no way through Switzerland's determined defense.

"Today wasn't our day," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. "We have two games ahead of us. We have to find a way to win them."

It won't be a gimme. Well-regarded Chile beat Honduras 1-0 in the other Group H opener Wednesday.

At the final whistle, Fernandes fell to his knees and raised both arms to the sky. The entire team then went to the small section of Swiss fans in the Moses Mabhida Stadium and saluted them as they cheered and rang alpine cow bells.

History was not on Spain's side: Only two of the last eight reigning European champions had won their opening match at the World Cup -- France in 1986 and Germany in 1998. And Spain has not advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals since its best finish of fourth in 1950.

Chile 1, Honduras 0: Jean Beausejour scored the only goal in a free-flowing match, as Chile won the opening game of Group H after Beausejour tapped in a cross from Mauricio Isla in the 34th minute.

Chile came close to doubling its lead on several occasions. In the 62nd minute, Alexis Sanchez sent a clear-cut chance wide after he was put in free by Jorge Valdivia.

Chile's last victory during the finals was on June 16, 1962, when it came in third as host of the World Cup by beating Yugoslavia.

This is Chile's first World Cup since 1998, when three draws sent it into the second round.

Uruguay 3, South Africa 0: Diego Forlan scored two goals, helping Uruguay to a victory that pushed South Africa closer to being the first host nation to go out in the opening round of a World Cup.

Forlan scored on a deflected 25-yard shot in the 24th minute and converted a penalty kick in the 80th to give Uruguay its first World Cup victory since a group game at the 1990 competition.

Alvaro Pereira added the third score in injury time.

Uruguay has four points from two games in Group A, while South Africa has one and needs to beat France on Tuesday to have any chance to stay in the competition.