Unbeatable. This term was used to describe Spain before the start of the World Cup. Underachievers is now a term which can be associated with Spain once again. The 1-0 defeat probably shocked them more than us considering they were on a twelve match winning streak and before that, had gone thirty five matches undefeated before their defeat to the USA in the Confederations Cup last summer.
Switzerland?s performance against Spain mirrored the way in which USA beat Spain in the Confederations Cup last summer. Despite Spain being at full strength, dominating possession and dominating territory, they were unable to breach their way through the Swiss and American defence which they normally do. Then out of nowhere, a long ball up to the striker sees them through on goal. American striker Jozy Altidore scored in this way to make it USA 1-0 Spain. If the striker is unable to score, then Swiss Gelson Fernandes or American Clint Dempsey will slot the ball into the net on the rebound.
Spain went into this game at full strength with Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas on the bench. The lack of support probably caused David Villa to have a quieter game than usual, but with Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso controlling the play, it seemed a matter of time before Spain would break the deadlock. Not to be.
However, I?m sure that not every team Spain will play will have a much organised defence as Switzerland had. Credit goes to where credit is due, and Switzerland deserves a massive amount of credit. They kept out Villa and therefore kept out Spain?s main player in scoring goals.
Also, starting Torres alongside Villa will boost Spain?s attacking chances as Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso will have more players to target instead of the lone Villa. The Torres-Villa partnership is the best in the world.
Plus, for all you betting people, don?t be immediately discouraged in not backing Villa. He still has an unbelievable strike rate in international football with 38 goals in 59 appearances. He will also be playing against Honduras and Chile who don?t pose a decent defence compared to the Swiss defence. Plus, Villa will be playing against these sides whereas other Golden Boot challengers such as Argentinean pair Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain with Brazilian Luis Fabiano and German Lukas Podolski will probably end up not playing the third and final group stage match if their respective countries continue their good form and qualify on top with a game to spare. This gives Villa an extra game to score some goals. Not a bad bet eh?
Even Spain winning the World Cup won?t be stupid. I firmly back them to still win it and see the recent result as a blip. Recent results have proved this. In November, Spain defeated current high-flyers Argentina 2-1. In March, Spain comprehensively defeated France 2-0 in their own back garden. Spain does have the capabilities of winning the World Cup and shouldn?t be written off after the small blip on Wednesday.