World Cup Liveblog

It’s time for La Furia Roja to get into the World Cup act and Luke is here to bring you all the action in an amazing, scintillating, and ever-so-intelligent liveblog. Señores Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Pique, Villa, and chamaquito Busi are all expected to play a role.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. June 16, 2010

    been waiting so long for this day.
    it has been such a boring WC so far except for messi.
    hopefully xavi and co. will be able to light up this WC

  2. June 16, 2010

    btw mods, why is the liveblog starting so late? i mean, why not a bit before the match starts?
    how do most of the readers here watch the match? since its at 10am.
    watch re-runs? im lucky enough cos the match will be 10pm at my place.

  3. Helge
    June 16, 2010

    According to, we will swap Ibra for either Robinho, Pato or Torres.

    It’s getting more and more certain that Ibra will leave this summer. That’s not fair to him…

    • Eklavya
      June 16, 2010

      People who write that are dumb but those who believe it are even dumber.

      • Kxevin
        June 16, 2010

        Eklavya summed it up best.

        Robinho: No way. We had the chance, and said no. There’s a reason he’s back in Brazil.

        Pato: We. Already. Have. Krkic.

        Torres: Ibrahimovic, only less, as in passing, defense, midfield pressuring, tika-taka.

        Next, please?

        Biggest question now is where is The Yaya headed, and for how much? On the up side, he didn’t look all that hot against Portugal.

        • vicsoc8
          June 16, 2010

          Manchester City, 30 million Euros. Won’t be confirmed until after the World Cup, but everything is converging on this.

  4. Eklavya
    June 16, 2010


  5. Eklavya
    June 16, 2010

    It usually starts 5 mins before kickoff or so.

    Readers here are from everwhere so they all have different times zones but SA’s time zone it the same as Barcelona’s so Yay! for that.

  6. Lev
    June 16, 2010

    according to the Guardian:

    “Victory!” screams the front page banner headline of North Korean daily the Pyongyang Democrat, above a report outlining how the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea torpedoed hapless Brazil in a 29-0 rout, in which bespectacled man of the match, chairman of the National Defence Commission, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, supreme leader and midfield general Kim Jong-il scored 28 goals, with his late father eternal president Kim Il-Sung chipping in with a victory-sealing 30-yard surface-to-air missile in injury-time.

    I wish we would report football like that in Holland 😉

  7. Andrew
    June 16, 2010

    Congrats Ekalavya!

    Those Spaniards have always choked in the World Cup. They will never win it.

  8. El Tel
    June 16, 2010

    Can’t ESPN at least have the decency to muzzle Lalas after this stinging defeat?

  9. jordi™
    June 16, 2010

    heh this was like when we played Rubin Kazan

    • ooga aga
      June 16, 2010

      this means otmart leibert (or whatever the swiss coach is named) is a genius right? he is special one?

  10. BA
    June 16, 2010

    defend defend defend defend defend, luck. glad to see the Mourinho Model is still in use.

    • ooga aga
      June 16, 2010

      that swiss goal was pure footballing class.

  11. Eklavya
    June 16, 2010

    Hahaha people here are celebrating as if Switzerland have won the WC!! LOL!!! 😀 there are lots of honking going outside! 😀 😀

  12. stephen
    June 16, 2010

    Well done for Switzerland. It makes me feel better it wasnt the Barca players that ate it. So lets point to fingers… Alonso, ghost. Silva didnt do a damn thing, Ramos couldnt hold his own on the right they wouldnt pass the ball to him, and Iker, you couldve done more on that goal. Xavi was a little anonymous, couldve done more.
    DelBosque, why would you take Busi out? That was a huge mistake.

    • Miguel
      June 16, 2010

      really? i thought puyol had a hand in that goal. he came way too far out to pick up one of the strikers & was caught out of position, i think :v/

    • Rohanv
      June 16, 2010

      Xavi seemed to have 8 men in front of him every time he picked the ball, and Hitzfeld very clearly told them to sit on his right foot (it was painfully obvious at times), the outlet to Alonso from that didn’t work as well as it usually does to Iniesta.

  13. Euler
    June 16, 2010

    Hitzfeld is a very good tactician and has obviously been very successful over his career. Switzerland was going to stay compact and maintain their shape – that was obvious going into the match.

    Switzerland was able to execute what they wanted to do tactically and Spain just couldn’t break them down. Switzerland only had a few chances and they converted one of them.

    Spain plays perhaps the most attractive game in the world but today they ran out of ideas. They kept trying to play the same way over and over and over.

    And what really hurt Spain was their spacing on the pitch. The right flank for most of the match was simply non-existant. Silva was constantly moving to the center or the left. He, Iniesta and even Villa were playing in the same space. Silva hardly spent any time on the right. And that’s where all of the open area was. Ramos is not Maicon or Alves. He cannot function as the entire right flank.

    At times Spain reminded me today a little of how Barca looked at times this past season only in reverse. With Spain the right flank was non-existant. For Barca at times it was the left flank.

    Ultimately not using the flanks reduces the size of the pitch. It makes it even easier for a team to stay compact and defend.

    Managers are learning how to successfully play against Tiki-Taka. One can see the progression from Ancelotti to Mourhino to Hitzfeld today.

  14. June 16, 2010

    that really looked like us, barca.
    lots of possession but no goal.hehe.

    iniesta looked good today.very lively. prolly the best spain player.
    he was fouled nearly every single time he touched the ball.sigh.
    however iniesta seriosly needs to take some extra shooting classes.and stop play acting.( at the side line holding his face while he wasnt even touched). and navas sux! really dont like that guy. holds the ball for far too long.
    good to see pedro having some minutes and he made an impact too. torres-villa combo worked really well. hmmmm was salivating at the thought of torres-villa in barca one day with messi behind.

  15. Lev
    June 16, 2010

    That was awesome. I thought Spain was magnificent, they only forgot to score. The Swiss goal was a fluke, really. About time something happened to breathe life into the tournament. It took for the last two teams to play their first game, but we are well on our way now 🙂

  16. ElShowDeJason
    June 16, 2010

    This performance by Spain was the best “keep Ibra at Barca” argument I have ever seen.

    Del Bosque, Xavi, Xabi, Silva, Ramos, Navas, and Howard Webb all sucked

    • Bill
      June 16, 2010

      How did you guys look at this game and what you came out of it was keep Ibra? My goodness! would he have been better than Villa and Torres?

      • lovelymofo
        June 16, 2010

        Yes. Can hold up the ball better than Torres, will create space and pass the ball to any open players, and obviously takes shots at goal.

        I think Spain’s best chance inside the box was Pique’s and he’s a defender.

        • tutomate
          June 16, 2010

          Bill, he is better than Torres in my opinion. A Villa-Ibra combo is better than a Torres-Villa. But we already know how you feel about Ibra because we alredy know how you felt about Eto’ó. Which is fine in many ways, but you have already decide that Ibra was a failure and it won’t matter waht we say to the contrary.

          • Bill
            June 16, 2010

            Tutomate, don’t even go there. My point is that it was a team failure to beat the system. Otherwise, going by the logic of your crowd, Ibra should have done wonders against Inter. It wasn’t because of him we lost 3-1 first leg, just like It wasn’t villas or Torres fault alone.

            Besides, it isn’t just me who was against that trade. Sport and ES are coming out strongly against it. Plus about 65% of cules polled by those magazines.

          • ElShowDeJason
            June 16, 2010

            i wasn’t saying that torres or villa wern’t good. what i’m saying is that having xavi, iniesta, busi, villa, and silva (messi) running around and passing sometimes doesn’t work against cynical bus-parking.

            I don’t have a problem with player’s performance (not all of the anyways), but rather with Del Bosque’s stupid gameplan. which is our gameplan when Bojan plays instead of Ibra.

            but actually some players did suck. Xabi, Xavi, Silva, Ramos, Capdevilla, Navas. they mostly sucked.
            I liked Iniesta, Villa, Torres, and Busquets.

            And stupid Pique… just because someone goes all Karate-kid on your face and injures you isn’t an excuse to just lie there doing notihng. (SARCASM)

          • Aeneas
            June 16, 2010

            Capdevilla had no business being in this game.

          • TUTOMATE
            June 16, 2010

            And we both know how reliable those two rags are.

  17. Bill
    June 16, 2010

    This was a good loss for spain. They were a bit too overconfident coming into this world cup. If there was a game to lose, this was it. Now, I hope they will be humbled and get down to the job they can do.

    Having said that, the same thing that frustrated me with Barca applies to spain too. with 65%+ possession, they can afford a few more long distance set-up shots (jubulani can do wonders here), a few more direct counter attack plays and better crosses in.

    It’s strange but every time I saw Iniesta run, I felt pain in my own leg. He just came off a long time injury, why risk him? they will absolutely need him when it comes to the latter stages of the competition.

    Am I the only one who gets hungry for macdonalds every time I see the spanish kits? Im off to get some burgers now…

    • poipoi
      June 16, 2010

      lol congrats man!

      did you feel like we were going to score? or you were calm 🙁

  18. Fabian4Barça
    June 16, 2010

    Hey Eklavya, where in Switzerland do you come from?

    I’m Swiss, but I will not celebrate a victory achieved through Catenaccio and luck. Not if it’s against Spain.

    • ElShowDeJason
      June 16, 2010

      not to mention a kick to Pique’s face that should have been called?

  19. poipoi
    June 16, 2010

    I think iniesta is not injured but why risk iniesta if it is to play in the freaking wing? if he plays it is to play in the middle with xavi and get between enemy lines. spain played with 2 def mids when they have the best of mids ever!! xabi alonso and busi should not play together me thinks specially against weak teams, maybe in tough ones.

    plus we played with two false wingers iniesta and silva so the depth there was really short, that 4-5-1 was really an ugly ugly line-up to me, and nobody says so in the after game debates I’ve been hearing. Pedro! or Navas are the wingers not iniesta. Then in the second half after no shooting at all Del Bosque has the chance to sub villa for torres and busi for navas… playing with wings ( Silva + Pedro!) and xaviniesta + alonso in the back. But he kept iniesta in the wing god I hate that stuff. We could have won perfectly today if we got our chances right but the team on the pitch was not the best one for sure. Xabi alonso+busi is as stupid as you can get as a coach, put cesc silva iniesta even pedro! or mata but not those two together please del bosque

  20. Euler
    June 16, 2010

    The only player on the pitch today for Spain who had some space was Ramos. Switzerland was staying compact and pinching in. Spain over loaded the left side which drew more of the defense to the center and left side of the pitch.

    Spain’s best chance to score was off that right flank. That was going to require creativity from Ramos because he was the only player on the right flank for most of the match. In this sense it was somewhat similar to Brazil’s match yesterday. It was a player on Spain’s right wing that was going to have the best chance to create a score.

    But Ramos couldn’t do what Maicon did yesterday.

    The other area where a team can create functional space against a team like Switzerland is to allow the center backs to make runs from in deep. When center backs do this they are very hard to mark. Pique was very good in this role but he didn’t get used enough in this role.

  21. BA
    June 16, 2010

    del Bosque was completely and comprehensively outcoached. wrong tactics (if any), subbed way too late and attempted a relatively new formation – the double pivot – against a side that were never going to progress through the midfield. in addition, Spain lacked width until Navas come on, with Silva and Iniesta never going to stick to the touchlines and stretch the Swiss defense. Spain’s formation was utterly, horribly wrong for this game.

  22. Jay
    June 16, 2010

    As always you act conservative and you will get the same such results. having torres, pedro, navas, mata, who in their right mind would start with a 4-5-1 formation? oh that’s right………del bosque. 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 is better.

  23. ElShowDeJason
    June 16, 2010

    This NEEDS to be the starting line-up next:


    subs: Cesc, Llorente, Navas/Silva

  24. Helge
    June 16, 2010

    I think Torres is simply not ready for World Cup action yet. He (and also Villa) missed some chances today they’d usually bury in the net. And this 4-2-3-1 system has never worked out for Spain under Vicente Del Bosque. They should definitely change the line-up to a 4-4-2 (if Torres is fully fit for the next match against Honduras on Monday).

    With this result, Spain complicated its own life. Chile and Switzerland both have 3 points more than Spain, if either Chile or Switzerland wins in their next game (against each other), Spain will have a real final against Chile, whatever their score against Honduras will be.

    After the first playday is over, I have to say I’m vastly disappointed by the football being shown at the greatest and most-anticipated sports event of the world.
    I really hope that the WC will finally get started during the 2nd playday. South Africa might show a lot of passion and enthusiasm this evening, and that would already be an improvement to most of the matches so far. I don’t expect every match to be a heavenly exhibition of attacking football, but I think it’s legal to ask for more passion and eagerness from the majority of the 32 nations.

  25. Ramzi
    June 16, 2010

    This game should have helped to ruin lot of static theoretical football stereotypes:
    – Its an opinion, not a FACT, that Buying Villa instead of Ibra was a smarter decesion to make. Because he could have done better against Inter. Against a team thats not even close to Inter quality in defense struggled to make an impact.
    – Its an opinion, not a FACT, that if the team is winning with player (A) on the field and it happens that the team lose with player (B) then A is automatically better than B. Or else, lets all agree that Spain is Busquets-dependent.
    – Its an opinion, not a FACT, that Ibra is catostrophic, Torres is the shit.
    – Its an opinion, not a FACT, that because the team has better quality, a win is a given.
    – Its an opinion, not a FACT, that an extremely technical midfield-offense doesnt work regardless of how sexyit looks (not the first time I mention this). something like Xavi-Iniesta-Cesc-Messi-Villa based lineup?

    Regarding Xabi+Busquets option: Not the only valid option, but not as bad as may look. If Ramos dared a bit more to do offense, this duet would have served better, keeping in mind that the LB is also offense oriented. Against Korea, the melo-Gelberto duet were critisized. the truth is that those two players were the most produtive for Brazil saving the team from all the lost balls generated by Kaka and co bad performance. We saw how it went when Busquets was subbed.

    Take it as an opinion, not as a fact as well

    • BA
      June 16, 2010

      for your first point, at least…

      – Villa struggled to make an impact because he was isolated as the lone forward with 5 midfielders all trying to move into the same middle third of space behind him. playing, and sticking to, a 4-5-1 in this game with the players ostensively stationed out wide was idiotic. if Spain (or Barca) had wingers who could stretch the Swiss (or Inter) defense, Villa would have had more room to do his thing instead of being the only threat permanently in a forward position and getting sandwiched. and in case you didn’t notice, Ibra didn’t (doesn’t) offer anything of use against Inter specifically or a packed defense.

      the double pivot in this case was simply a redundant player, since it should have been Marcos Senna in the middle who can do everything Busquets does AND everything Alonso does at the same time, in a proper 4-3-3. the Swiss goal wasn’t down to Busquets not being there, as he’s not 60 feet tall and the ball that reached the Swiss strikers was a long one, not one through the middle. there’s no real comparison between this game and the Brazil-DPR game, as all 4 teams play (and played) quite differently from one another.

      • Ramzi
        June 16, 2010

        “Villa struggled to make an impact because he was isolated as the lone forward”
        In fact, I saw Ibra being more isolated. At least Spain moved the ball to the final third where Villa operate. Against Inter, That wasnt the case. Barca were miles away from there.

        And I dont agree that Senna was that good for Barca in THIS world cup. But its the same Yaya Vs Busquets dressed in Yaya. We will not reach anywhere there.

        I made that “If busquets was there” point because thats the invalid logic people used for a whole season. “If eto’o was there”, “If Yaya was there…” etc…Based on interpreting the facts per favour. Its not about the goal. Its a fact that swiss became more dangerous the moment BUsquets left (and I believe thats not a coincidence, but still). REgardless, I used the same logic used for monthes to prove a point. We can always create arguments that goes both ways. My point is that, nothing is as certain as the people who point it believe.

        Every team is different. Every game is defferent even if the same teams played against each others 10 times. BUt still there are common aspects where they all concure.

        • Ramzi
          June 16, 2010

          *And I dont agree that Senna was that good for Spain in THIS world cup. But its the same Yaya Vs Busquets dressed in Senna . We will not reach anywhere there.

        • Kari
          June 16, 2010

          Actually, yes he did and scored this beauty


          There was also that infamous Navarro punch. I still LOL whenever I see 0:20 (Julio Cruz’s sliding tackle fail 😛 )


    • Helge
      June 16, 2010

      I agree with your opinions. But damn it… this scares me for our next season. And apparently, Rosell really wants to see a Xavi-Iniesta-Cesc-Villa-Torres-Messi 🙁 🙁 🙁

  26. ooga aga
    June 16, 2010

    i enjoyed watching this match despite the loss.

  27. lovelymofo
    June 16, 2010

    This loss bums me out because I always equate La Furia Roja with Barça. I want them to win dammit!

    But yeah, I agree that Del Bosque didn’t get his tactics right. Looked good on paper, but once I saw Switzerland’s defensive lines, all the crowding in the middle, I thought of the US match and knew it was gonna be a tough one. I can’t clearly tell you what changes I would have made, but everyone on the offensive end seemed a little off. Too many extra touches. Shooting on goal when they should have passed, passing when they should have gone for goal.

    Looking on the bright side – Barça lost the first match of the season against an inferior team in 08/09 and then went on to win everything. So, I hope they learn from this match and go on to the final stages of the WC.

    • Vj
      June 16, 2010

      Yeah, I thought about that too – and they lost by the same margin as well.. Thankfully, the next match is against Honduras, if they don’t improve their GD during that match, I’ll be a little worried..

  28. Jim
    June 16, 2010

    What a bummer !

    I thought both full backs were poor and didn’t offer us much plus no sure what was going on with Alonso and Busi both hanging so deep although that was some strike by Alonso. Add to that another lets break up Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield by playing him on the wing and you have a bit of a mess.

    Wasn’t too impressed by Villa but he tried hard. On the Torres vs Ibra I’m not sure there’s much between them and I’d be scared that Torres had the same effect on us that Ibra had at times.

  29. Vj
    June 16, 2010

    Well, its only the start of the tournament.. I hope Spain benefit from this wake-up call.. Even if they win the next two matches, they might still clash with Brazil, and I’m pretty sure of what might go down in that match..

  30. Hilal
    June 16, 2010

    The problem with Spain, untill they brought on Navas, was that they didnt have any direct players. All their attacking players – Iniesta, Silva, Xavi are pretty much the same… all like to play through the middle and all like to use one touch, passing football, which is great, but sometimes you need something different. Navas (and Pedro) brought those elements once they came on.

    I also think having Silva and Iniesta on the pitch at the same time is a little pointless. Silva is a just a poor mans Iniesta, he brings nothing different or new. If Iniesta is on the pitch then play Navas or Cesc. Navas is more direct and Cesc at least shoots from outside the box. I like Silva, I just dont think he really adds anything different, which is why i dont think he would be a particularly good buy for Barca either.

    I think this might be a good thing for Spain, who had everybody in the world blowing hot air up their asses. A shocking loss like this in the opening game is just about the biggest slap in the face and nothing will serve as a better reminder that ANYONE can beat them! I still think they are the best team in the tournament, but as we all know, the best team doesnt always win..

    • Flippy
      June 16, 2010

      Like the Jeffren substitution in the WC for Clubs final?

    • Ramzi
      June 16, 2010

      Agreed on Pedro or Cesc. I have nothing against Navas but he is too one dimensional to start for a team that count on interchanging positions. Beside the question is: Who will he cross the ball to? He is better as a sub when the opponent fitness drop causing more spaces for him to make his runs.

  31. Flippy
    June 16, 2010

    The thing with Ibra is that ppl forget that his primary purpose is to be the player that opens the oppositions defense from being (double) manmarked. The reason why we weren’t scoring as much was because Henry was playing bad, and therefore we lacked a player who could use the open spaces created by Ibra to penetrate the opposing defense. While we did have players fill that role quite well from time to time (P!, Keita, etc), Villa is the real solution to that problem. Also, remember the first part of last season when Ibra was scoring goals every game? When teams do not keep a good eye on Ibra, he can be lethal.

  32. Vj
    June 16, 2010

    In other news, dram in the Uruguay-SA match.. Penalty awarded to Uruguay with SA’s goalie being sent off.. Forlan converts – add to that his wonder strike in the first half – Uruguay in the driver’s seat in Group A!

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