Mark Ggonzalez, the former Liverpool winger, cracked open Switzerland's record-breaking defence to give Chile a second successive victory to move the South Americans clear at the top of Group H.
Gonzalez, who was born in South Africa, headed home a right wing cross from Esteban Paredes in the 75th minute after Chile sprung the Swiss offside trap with a counter-attack. Just eight minutes earlier, Switzerland had set a new World Cup finals record, beating Italy's old mark of 550 minutes without conceding a goal. It was the first goal they had let in at the finals since 1994.
Switzerland played most of the match with 10 men after midfielder Valon Behrami was sent off in the 31st minute for striking a Chilean player.
The match lived up to its billing as an ugly midfield stalemate. "It was a very intense match we were very much under pressure, we knew Chileans are fast, strong and on the attack and we had to use a lot of energy to fight back," Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.
"My team did fight very hard, every single player went out of his mind to fight," he said, adding the sending off "wasn't a red card from my standpoint."
Switzerland had a chance to grab a draw in the 90th minute but Eren Derdiyok, unmarked in the middle of the penalty area, shot wide.
Chile attacked the Swiss continuously and had their first chance after 10 minutes when Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio was forced into a superb double save from Arturo Vidal then Carlos Carmona from long range. Alexis Sanchez tested the Swiss defence early on, outpacing Reto Ziegler on the wing and cutting back to the oncoming Humberto Suazo, who missed the ball.
Chile thought they had broke the deadlock soon after the break when Sanchez's strike from 25 metres deflected off Matias Fernandez and into the net but was ruled out for offside.
Chile almost broke through on 54 minutes when Sanchez dispossessed Stephane Grichting on the edge of the area but was denied by Benaglio.
Chile: Bravo; Isla, Medel, Ponce, Vidal (Gonzalez 46), Carmona, Jara, Fernandez (Paredes 65), Suazo (Valdivia 46), Beausejour, Sanchez.
Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Grichting, Von Bergen, Ziegler; Behrami, Inler, Huggel, Fernandes (Bunjako 77); Frei (Barnetta 42), Nkufo (Derdiyok 68).
Referee: Khalil Al-Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia)Reuse content