There was a lot of hope for the Chileans as they entered the 2010 World Cup, and they started off with a bang.
Though they only bested Honduras by a goal, they completely outclassed them today in Nelspruit. Finishing second in the rigors of COMNEBOL qualification stamped Chile as a potential darkhorse to make a significant run this summer. On the other side of the coin, Honduras was a team who barely qualified (indirectly from a Jonathan Bornstein header), and regardless of their group draw were not seen as much of a threat.
Both notions were proved to be on point today, as a 3-0 victory would be more representative of this one unfolded. Chile and Coach Marcelo Bielsa continued their attractive style of play that won them plaudits during qualification. Bielsa’s last World Cup experience was a forgetable one, as he failed to lead his birth country Argentina past the group stage. This Chile team now has a chance to get to the knockout stages after their first World Cup victory since 1962.
21-year old Udinese forward Alexis Sanchez was brilliant, and looked like changing the game every time he received a touch. He is undoubtedly a talent that will take his game to one of Europe’s giants sooner rather than later.
Honduras on the other hand were dreadful, and it is hard to foresee them picking up a point in Group H. They are a team that at least tries to play attacking football, but they don’t have the personnel to compete with that style on the world’s biggest stage. They have little creativity in their mifield, and without Carlos Costly and the injured (but in the squad) David Suazo they have no serious goal-scoring threats up front. With a very ogranized Swiss side and the high-flying Spaniards awaiting them, it looks less than promising for the Central Americans.
With Switzerland’s shock defeat of Spain, this group has become a lot more interesting. Chile’s next two games against Switzerland and Spain will essentially be elimination games for all parties involved.