Portugal obviously didn’t fancy heading into their last game against Brazil knowing Ivory Coast had a chance to run up the score against North Korea so they bought themselves seven goals worth of insurance this morning. By trouncing Kim Il-Bonkers lads they can now afford a modest loss to Brazil and still go through on goal difference over Ivory Coast unless they can also throw a touchdown up on the scoreboard.
They same thinking came into play today in the Chile v Switzerland game as the spectre of Spain loomed large over the proceedings. While yet another referee tried to draw the spotlight onto himself by tossing out cautions like a yellow pages delivery man (nine yellow cards and a red), the game instantly lit up when Chile scored. The Swiss realized if they could tie it up and head into their last game against Honduras on four points they would almost certainly go through. Meanwhile, with Chile only beating Honduras by one goal, a one goal win over Chile would give them the minimum +2 that any team on six point could muster and a loss to Spain coupled with a multi-goal Spanish over Honduras later today will mean they could lose out on goal difference in a three way tie for first if the Swiss go on to beat Honduras in their last game. Hence, the Chileans pouring forward in fours and fives right until the final whistle to snag another goal.
So Portugal bought insurance against a potential bad result against Brazil while Chile and Switzerland tried to get insurance against the possibility of a Spanish blowout over Honduras today followed by a win over Chile in their last game which could see a three way tie at the top of the table that would be settled by goal difference.
While Spain are claiming that they remain calm and others are more upset about the result against the Swiss than they are, you will certainly see the Spanish trying to notch early and often against the Hondurans today and it wont’ surprise me if they play with Villa up front with either Torres (looked very poor against the Swiss when he came on) or Navas and Silva playing high up on the wing almost as a third striker. If Iniesta can’t play another attacking mid like Fabregas or Pedro will start. I still doubt the wisdom of playing with a holding mid like Busquets in games where they need to score. Especially when both Xavi and Alonso sit deep and distribute rather than play off strikers.
We’ve definitely moved from the tentative first games to the tactical second games. Should get even better tomorrow when we start hitting the desperate third games…