Favourites fail to strike back in first major upset of finals

Spain 0 Switzerland 1

Maybe it is those infernal vuvuzelas. Whatever it is, something about South Africa disagrees with Spanish footballers. They have only lost twice in 48 matches since November 2006, both times here.

Last summer, in the Confederations Cup, Spain unexpectedly lost to the United States. If that was a shock this was a thunderclap. Switzerland is famous for its mountains, its cheese, and its cuckoo clocks, but not its footballers.

Spain, as usual, monopolised possession but while goalkeeper Diego Benaglio made some decent saves his was not one of those once-in-lifetime performances, it did not need to be. The one time he was beaten, by Xabi Alonso's rasping 25-yard drive with 20 minutes left, it rattled off the crossbar.

At the other end Iker Casillas was hardly troubled, until an old-fashioned goalkeeping punt caused chaos after 52 minutes and Gelson Fernandes, once, not very memorably, of Manchester City, scored. It was out of the blue, but not a freak, for 22 minutes later Eren Derdiyok weaved his way past three defenders and hit the post.

"I'm not used to scoring goals so I was a bit surprised," said Fernandes. He added: "I don't think I appreciate right now what has happened, it is a special moment for the Swiss national team and the country. I probably won't realise until after my career."

Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose experience was inked through the Swiss display like legend written in a stick of rock, said: "I am very happy. We did not allow many chances. There was not a huge fire in our penalty area. We were not shaking, not trembling, that gave us confidence and made the Spaniards nervous. They are contenders, they had to win."

It was not hard to see why they are contenders. The bench included Pepe Reina, Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres. A case could be made for this trio being, respectively, the best goalkeeper, midfielder and forward in the Premier League. The Swiss starting XI included a trio of players who had failed to nail down a place in the English game: Fernandes, Reto Ziegler (ex-Spurs) and Philippe Senderos (ex-Arsenal, now having a try at Fulham).

They did, however, have Hitzfeld who has steered two clubs to Champions League success. "Der General" had his troops well marshalled: Two banks of four, and Derdiyok, the second striker, preventing Gerard Pique bringing the ball out of defence.

That still left Xavi Hernandes, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta and David Silva to create the chances for Barcelona's new €40m striker, David Villa. That should be enough but Switzerland defended with intelligence, perseverance, discipline and, at times, ruggedness. Gokhan Inler committed three fouls in the opening 20 minutes, while Senderos and his centre-back partner Stephane Grichting also fell foul of Howard Webb. The various free-kicks came to naught, however. Switzerland were too dominant in the air, and when the Spanish went for a shot they were no more able to control the notorious World Cup ball than anyone else.

The first indication of how successfully the Swiss were frustrating Spain came after 21 minutes when Sergio Busquets, who has scored once in his senior career, attempted a shot from more than 20 yards. Benaglio gathered easily, as he did later efforts from Silva and Pique.

And then the incredible happened. Benaglio launched a long kick forward which found its way to Derdiyok. Casillas clattered him but Fernandes followed up and though Pique blocked his first shot he stabbed in at the second attempt. It would be stretching a point to suggest the stadium fell silent, but there was a sense of shock.

Thereafter a siege developed. Villa, Iniesta and Navas all spurned chances as did Torres who looked very rusty when he came on. Too often, however, Spain were forced wide, crossed, and saw the ball headed clear.

No team has won the World Cup after losing their opening game. "It is not a good sign but we must cope with the situation," said Vicente Del Bosque, Spain's coach. "We may not have shown our true personality, but we will in the next matches."

Spain (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pique, Puyol, Capdevila; Busquets (Navas, 61), Alonso; Silva (Torres, 61), Xavi, Iniesta (Pedro, 77); Villa.

Switzerland (4-4-1-1): Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Senderos (Von Bergen, 35), Grichting, Ziegler; Barnetta (Eggimann, 90), Inler, Huggel, Fernandes; Derdiyok (Yakan, 79); Nkufo.

Referee H Webb (England).

Spain's biggest misses

17 min The first opening fell to Spain's right-back Sergio Ramos, who received the ball in space on the right before dragging his shot wastefully wide.

25min Andres Iniesta slipped a pass through to Gerard Pique, who cut inside his man before firing straight at goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

45 min David Villa finally finds space in the box but opts to pass, chipping tamely across the face of goal.

70 min Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso smashes his shot against the crossbar from outside of the area.

Match statistics

Spain/Switzerland

63% Possession 37%

24 Shots 8

8 Shots on goal 3

12 Free Kicks 3

12 Corners 3

8 Fouls 18

593 Passes 278

459 Passes completed 160



Fans' Network: Rival supporters around Britain give their views

Manuel Sanda, 46, Wine Merchant in Stirling, originally from Boimorto in La Coruna. Interviewed by Dan Ross

What a disaster! All credit to the Swiss, though, they got their tactics spot on. They played a physical, defensive game, holding off us and absorbing our pressure. They may have been a little too physical - I felt Howard Webb was too lenient and that we had three good shouts for penalties. But I am not blaming the referee, because we were poor. We played too arrogantly, having a lot of possession but not playing with the directness, the urgency that was needed. We missed a few chances, but didn't threaten their goal as much as we should.

We got it wrong tactically, too. I would not have given Andres Iniesta all that time on the pitch. His fitness is still not right and I think he was pushed too much. Towards the end of the match, when we were behind, we got desperate and played high balls - crazy when you think how tall their defence is!

There is a lot of pressure now - we have to win, there is no tomorrow! We must move from being the team with 'disaster' written on the back of their shirts, to winning our next two matches. We have to finish top of the group to avoid Brazil!



News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?