Spanish lose favourites tag as Swiss stun Del Bosque’s men in opener


SPAIN coach Vicente del Bosque blamed bad luck after the much-fancied European champions crashed to defeat in their opening game, causing the biggest shock of the tournament so far.

Former Manchester City midfielder Gelson Fernandes bundled home the only goal early in the second half and Switzerland stood firm in the face of intense pressure to pull off a famous win.

Defeat was only Spain’s second in their last 45 games and saw them lose their favourites status with bookmakers to Brazil, but Del Bosque said his team would bounce back from a setback he insisted they had not deserved.

“Someone had luck against Spain today,” he said. “It was not our day. We tried to win in an orthodox way, and at points our second half performance was heroic, but we could not find the goal. The defeat forces us to win both our remaining games, there is no other option. But, the World Cup is not over yet.”

Spain, who won all 10 of their qualifying matches, completely dominated possession in Durban but struggled to pierce a well-organised and determined Swiss rearguard. Barcelona striker David Villa, ploughing a lone furrow up front, buzzed but lacked his usual ruthlessness when he did occasionally find a chink in his opponents’ armour.

Switzerland took the lead in the 52nd minute when Eren Derdiyok hared onto a flicked-
on long ball and smuggled it past goalkeeper Iker Casillas, allowing Fernandes to profit
from the chaos and tap past prone defender Gerard Pique into the empty net.

Spain lie bottom of Group H after Chile beat Honduras 1-0 earlier yesterday in Nelspruit, Jean Beausejour’s goal earning them a first World Cup win for 48 years.