Plenty At Stake On
Final Day Of Pool Play
By JAKE YADRICH
One Great Season
Much like most of the groups in World Cup play thus far, the decision on which two teams will advance from Group H will be determined on the final day of pool play.
In a group where Spain seemed a lock to advance, they now need a win over an impressive Chile squad to move on, and the Swiss team continues to show that the game doesn't have to be beautiful in order to succeed.
The overpowering storyline for this group is obviously Spain. The sexy pick to win the tournament, La Furia Roja now have to take down group leader Chile with a win to guarantee at least a second-place finish. The only problem is that Chile has been pretty damn impressive in their two victories so far.
And even though Chile needs only a draw to advance, you can bet they won't drop back since the Swiss are expected to defeat the only team in the group without a point, Honduras. Not to mention, none of the three teams eligible to advance want to play Brazil, so you better finish first.
Both Spain and Chile have showcased what most soccer fans -- even soccer haters -- want to see: A relentless push forward, pinpoint passing and peppering opposing goalkeepers with shot after shot. This game has the potential to be the most exciting match of the opening round. In fact, to anyone who's been pondering giving soccer a shot, this is the game I've been pimping.
Aside from upsetting Spain, the Swiss haven't exactly been providing jaw-dropping moments. And despite losing to Chile, 1-0, the Swiss have maintained their identity as a defensive-minded squad and have executed the game plan to near perfection.
Rather than go over all the scenarios and tiebreakers, it's pretty safe to assume the following for each team:
+ Chile -- A win is not imperative, but it helps Chile avoid a potential meeting with Brazil in the next round.
+ Spain -- A win is necessary, but a tie is acceptable as long they score a shit-ton of goals.
+ Switzerland -- A win is necessary, but a tie is acceptable as long they score a shit-ton of goals.
+ Honduras -- Playing for pride.
When it comes to predicting what will actually go down in these games, I'm sticking with my original predictions when OGS World Cup coverage began. I have Spain defeating Chile 2-1, and Switzerland grinding out a 1-0 victory over Honduras. Spain, Chile, and Switzerland each finish with six points, but Spain and Chile advance on goal-differential and goals-scored tiebreakers.
Click here for Jake's bio and an archive of his previous stories.