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Mark Gonzalez celebrates his 75th minute goal

14:00 GMT, June 21, 2010

Mark Gonzalez’s 75th-minute goal put Chile on the brink of the second round with a 1-0 win over Switzerland. A fussy referee produced eight yellow cards and sent off Valron Behrami for an elbow on Arturo Vidal. 


  • Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez – Though Jorge Valdivia also made a good impression after his arrival as a second-half substitute, it was Chile’s flying forward who caught the eye once more thanks to his pace, invention and repertoire of tricks. His value is soaring game by game. 
  • Chile verdict: Marcelo Bielsa’s well-drilled side are delivering on the promise that many felt they had prior to the tournament and now top the group with maximum points. After another fluent and energetic display, a draw against Spain in their final game will secure top spot and they look real dark horses for the tournament. They could have enjoyed a greater margin of victory though and may have to be more ruthless. 
  • Switzerland verdict: Ottmar Hitzfeld’s size were inhibited by the dismissal of Valon Behrami in the first half but three points from two games against the group favourites hardly ranks as a disappointing tally. Though a win against Honduras in their final game will not completely guarantee their progression, they have a good base to work from. Will need to find more of a cutting edge though, as demonstrated by Eren Derdiyok’s late miss, and doubts remain as to whether they can chase a game. 
  • Could do better: Officials and players – Once again we saw a referee – in this case Khalil Al Ghamdi of Saudi Arabia – prove far too card-happy as he produced a succession of bemusing bookings. Valon Behrami was also hard done by when being dismissed for fending off Arturo Vidal. However, some mitigation comes in the fact that certain players seem so committed to embarrassing play-acting. Steve von Bergen joins Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita in this club of shame after an over-the-top reaction in the second half. 
  • Stat attack: Humberto Suazo’s second-minute yellow card is the joint third-quickest booking ever awarded at the World Cup (two have been awarded in the first minute).


    Gonzalez, formerly of Liverpool but now at CSKA Moscow, struck with 15 minutes remaining as Switzerland, reduced to ten men when Behrami was sent off before the break, finally succumbed at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. 

    His goal will send the South Americans into their final Group H clash with Spain knowing a point will be enough to take them through to the knockout stages. 

    Switzerland, looking to build upon their shock victory over the Spaniards, found themselves up against it even before their numbers were reduced. 

    Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio had to make a fine double save from Arturo Vidal and Carlos Carmona with just ten minutes gone, and he was in the right place at the right time five minutes before the break when Alexis Sanchez toe-poked a shot towards goal with his defenders once again conspicuous by their absence. 

    In the meantime their task had increased markedly when Behrami, having tangled with Jean Beausejour, did so with Vidal and saw the midfielder go to ground clutching his face. Referee Khalil Al Ghamdi had little hesitation in producing a red card and the Swiss were very much on the back foot. 

    In truth, they had been already for much of the first half with Chile’s midfield trio of Vidal, Carmona – who will miss the final group game against Spain after picking up a second booking – and Matias Ferrnandez repeatedly causing problems. 

    Switzerland offered little in response and skipper Alex Frei, who missed the opening game through injury, departed before the break having struggled to make an impact. 

    Sanchez in particular made a nuisance of himself as the South Americans stepped up a gear in the wake of Behrami’s exit, although the Swiss just about held firm. 

    Chile thought they had taken the lead within three minutes of the restart when Sanchez blasted home a shot with the help of a significant deflection, but an offside flag correctly halted his celebrations in their infancy. 

    Benaglio needed to be at his best once again with 55 minutes gone when defender Stephane Grichting gifted the ball to Sanchez, who raced in on goal but could not beat the goalkeeper one-on-one. 

    Half-time substitute Gonzalez headed over from a Fernandez corner but, as the game became increasingly bad-tempered, Fernandez, who will also miss the Spain game, Gokhan Inler and Gary Medel were all cautioned in quick succession. 

    Grichting made a fine 69th-minute block to deny substitute Esteban Paredes, but it was he who did the damage with 15 minutes remaining when he rounded Benaglio and crossed for Gonzalez to power a downward header in off the underside of the bar. 

    The lively Paredes might have doubled his side’s advantage twice within the final six minutes but was unable to hit the target on either occasion, and Swiss substitute Eren Derdiyok passed up a glorious opportunity to level with seconds remaining when he fired wide.



    Mark González was born on July 10th, 1984 according to

    July 10th

    7 + 10 2+0+0+9 = 28 = his personal year (from July 10th, 2009 to July 9th, 2010) = Hero.  Unstoppable.


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