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Spain sitting pretty after World Cup draw
05 December 2009 @ 18:15

CAPE TOWN — European champions Spain, favourites for the World Cup, will have a firm eye on potential opponents in the last 16 after being drawn with Honduras, Chile and Switzerland in Group H.

The Spanish, whose best World Cup performance was a fourth-place finish in 1950, will be making their 12th tournament appearance and have never lost to any of their three group rivals.

And the trio will likely suffer should Spain's exemplary qualifying prowess continue.

Spain, along with the Netherlands, were one of only two teams to qualify from the European zone unbeaten, notching up 10 wins, scoring 28 goals and conceding just five in the process.

The team's success has been based on quality and balance throughout a side dripping class.

Captain Iker Casillas is one of the world's finest goalkeepers, while Xavi is vital to Spain's fluid one-touch style with his inch-perfect passing and vision. Up front, Europe boasts no finer finishers than David Villa and Fernando Torres.

Rafael Callejas, head of the Honduran football federation, said much preparation lay ahead for his team, ranked 38th in the FIFA standings and set for only their second World Cup participation after their 1982 appearance when they went out in the first round.

"We face very high level teams in Spain, Switzerland and Chile," he said. "Honduras must prepare itself very well."

Honduras reached the finals in dramatic fashion thanks to a last-second equaliser in the USA's clash with Costa Rica, and will look to the professionalism of Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda and evergreen striker Carlos Pavon to guide them through their pool campaign.

Fellow Hispanophones Chile, ranked 17th by FIFA and boasting the youngest average age of all the South American teams, make a return to the World Cup after a 12-year absence.

Coached by Argentinian veteran Marcelo Bielsa, Chile qualified behind Brazil in the South American zone with their steely resolve mirrored in an impressive away record.

Making up Group H are Switzerland, who reached the last 16 in 2006 before falling on penalties to Ukraine. They overcame a shocking 2-1 defeat to minnows Luxembourg to top their pool in European qualification.

The team, now coached by German Ottmar Hitzfeld, features a healthy blend of youth and experience, combining talented younger players such as Eren Derdiyok, Tranquillo Barnetta and keeper Diego Benaglio with seasoned campaigners like Alexander Frei and Blaise N'Kufo.

Source: AFP

 



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diablorojo said:
10 December 2009 @ 15:09

Out of the sides they could have drawn.....eg Portugal, France, Mexico, I guess they have got to be happy. Saying that I reckon a lot of people are dismissing Honduras as a guaranteed thrashing, which is dangerous....they drew against Spain in the 82' World Cup, and gave Mexico and United States a run for their money in qualifying.

Chile finished second in the south american qualifiying group, above Uruguay and Argentina, so they won't be easy either.

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