Football / World Cup USA '94: Zubizarreta shows his value to Spain

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The Independent Online
Spain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Switzerland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

AFTER being shown the exit door at Barcelona by the Spanish champions' coach, Johan Cruyff, Andoni Zubizarreta had a point to prove at the World Cup. On Saturday the experienced goalkeeper did just that in Washington, where he produced a series of top-class saves to ensure Spain's presence in the quarter-finals.

But for Zubizarreta, who joined Valencia last week, Spain's second- round encounter with Switzerland could have had a different ending. Well though the Spanish played at times, the Swiss deserved better than a 3-0 defeat. Javier Clemente, Spain's coach said: 'I don't like picking out players but Zubizarreta was the best on the field. He showed he is still among the world's best goalkeepers.'

Two saves stood out in particular. In the 11th minute, Stephane Chapuisat ran rings round the Spanish captain, Miguel Angel Nadal, and set up Thomas Bickel, whose shot was tipped on to the bar and over by Zubizarreta. After 65 minutes, the goalkeeper prevented a Swiss equaliser with an instant reaction stop to push away Adrian Knup's first-time lunge at Jorg Studer's cross.

The Swiss coach, Roy Hodgson, was not a happy loser. 'Show us some sympathy. If it had been a boxing match, the judges would have given it to us,' he said. 'We were better than them for long periods. We had three forwards up, did everything but score, and it was not surprising in the end we got caught on the break.'

The Swiss were distressed about Spain's first goal in the 15th minute, when the Dutch referee, Mario van der Ende, waved play on instead of awarding a free-kick when Chapuisat was brought down by Nadal as he bore down on goal. Fernando Hierro collected the loose ball and charged upfield to shoot past Marco Pascolo - with the officials ignoring the fact that Sergi was in an offside position.

On the break, Spain scored again in the 73rd minute. Sergi cut in from the left wing and found Luis Enrique, who hit a left-foot shot past Pascolo. Four minutes from time Pascolo was lucky to earn just a yellow card when he brought down Albert Ferrer and the substitute, Aitor Beguiristain, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

SPAIN (1-4-4-1): Zubizarreta (Valencia); Nadal; Ferrer (both Barcelona), Abelardo (Gijon), Alkorta (Real Madrid), Camarasa (Valencia); Hierro (Real Madrid), Goicoechea, Sergi, Bakero (all Barcelona); Luis Enrique (Real Madrid). Substitutes: Beguiristain (Barcelona) for Goicoechea, 60; Otero (Valencia) for Hierro, 75.

SWITZERLAND (4-4-2): Pascolo (Servette); Hottiger, Geiger, Quentin, Herr (all Sion); Sforza (Kaiserslautern), Ohrel (Servette), Bregy (Young Boys Berne), Bickel (Grasshopper Zurich); Knup (VfB Stuttgart), Chapuisat (Borussia Dortmund). Substitutes: Studer (FC Zurich) for Quentin, 57; Subiat (Lugano) for Ohrel, 72.

Referee: M van der Ende (Netherlands).