x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Switzerland shock favourites Spain

Switzerland pull off a major surprise with victory at the World Cup today, beating European champions Spain in their opening group match.

The striker Fernando Torres looks dejected during the unexpected Spanish defeat to Switzerland.
The striker Fernando Torres looks dejected during the unexpected Spanish defeat to Switzerland.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA // Switzerland pull off a major surprise with victory at the World Cup today, beating European champions Spain in their opening group match. Gelson Fernandes bundled the ball into the net in the 52nd minute in one of Switzerland's few attacks, ending Spain's run of 12 straight wins and handing the Spanish team only their second loss in 50 games. Spain dominated possession throughout the match, but could find no way through Switzerland's determined defence.

It was Switzerland's first ever win over Spain. Eren Derdiyok created Switzerland's goal by surging through the centre of Spain's defence and getting around goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Gerard Pique's tackle stopped Derdiyok, but Fernandes pounced on the loose ball and forced it into the net. 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 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and saluted them as they cheered and rang cow bells.

Derdiyok nearly doubled the Swiss lead in the 75th minute when he shrugged off Carlos Puyol's tackle and poked the ball past Casillas, but the shot hit the post. Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso came closest to equalising when his powerful drive in the 70th minute hit the cross bar. Spain's misery was compounded when Andres Iniesta was substituted in the 77th after a hard tackle from Stephan Lichtsteiner. Switzerland were knocked out of the last World Cup on penalties by Ukraine in the round of 16 without conceding a goal in the tournament. The Swiss have now gone 490 minutes without conceding a World Cup goal. * AP

Group H
Country M W D L GF GA Pts
Chile 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Switzerland 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Spain 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Honduras 1 0 0 1 0 1 0