World Cup 2010 Prediction: Spain Set To Cruise Past Switzerland

Alan McGuinnessSenior Analyst IJune 15, 2010

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 15:  Carles Puyol (C) of Spain runs with Sergio Ramos (L), Xabi Alonso (R) and other teammates during a training session at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on June 15, 2010 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Kickoff: 15:00 BST

Referee: Howard Webb (England)

Assistants: Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey (England)

Fourth official: Martin Hansson (Sweden)


Favourites Spain kick off their tournament against Switzerland, the last match in the first round of group games.

Vincente del Bosque’s side have never won the World Cup, and many will be expecting a victory tomorrow to be the first step towards remedying that.

Their best performance in the tournament is getting to the quarterfinal stage, which they achieved in 1986, 1994, and 2002.

Switzerland hold the dubious honour of being the only team to exit the World Cup without conceding a goal.

They were sent packing by Ukraine in the second round in 2006 on penalties after a 0-0 draw—they didn't concede in the group stages.

Team News

The Swiss will have to do without talismanic front man Alexander Frei, who has an ankle injury.

Valon Behrami also misses out.

Spain’s two fitness worries are Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres.  The latter is still not fully match fit after a serious knee injury and so will start on the bench.

David Villa will play as a lone striker.


Spain manager Vincente del Bosque says his team will not underestimate their opponents.

"With the exception of the Germany game, this has been a very level World Cup," he said. "There have been few differences between teams and there are many candidates for the title.

"We know Switzerland. We know they have qualified directly. It's a team that have been working for many years together, they have good organising skills, and a great coach. We respect them enormously."

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas—who was in danger of missing the tournament in South Africa after suffering a broken leg playing for Arsenal—is hoping to get off to a good start.

“It’s very important to win your first game, especially for the team’s confidence,” Fabregas told ahead of the encounter.

“That said, sometimes the champions are a team which starts slowly, which is hard to understand because winning your opening game is vital for squad morale."

He added: “A win boosts the mood in the camp, makes you feel more relaxed and eases the pressure. A defeat makes the going even harder, creates more stress, and isn’t good for the squad.”

He also emphasised the amount of preparation that has gone on behind the scenes.

He said: “We are given loads of information about our opponents.

"We start watching videos of the opposition two or three days before each game. So we know, more or less, who will start for them. Of course, there may be the odd change, but we basically know almost all there is to know.”

Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld is relaxed on the eve of the game, and isn’t discounting the possibility of causing an almighty upset.

The former Bayern Munich manager said: "They have incredible talent, individually skilled players who are very tight, very compact, as a team.

"They can focus on attack and are also virtually perfect in defence.

"We're playing the favourites and we have nothing to lose, but we have great potential in the team.

"We could bring about a sensation, we could be one of the teams to make the favourites tumble. Laws of probability say at one point we will beat Spain, so why not tomorrow?"



Spain are expected to cruise through Group H—and rightly so.

Without Frei, the Swiss will find it even harder to cause what would be a massive shock.

3-0 Spain is my forecast.


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