Switzerland Stops Spain 1-0 : Benaglio Is Big


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With Spain striker DAVID VILLA (7) of Valencia advancing rapidly, Switzerland goalkeeper DIEGO BENAGLIO of German club Vfl Wolfsburg is off his line to smother the ball as Swiss defender STEPHANE GRICHTING (13) of French club AJ Auxerre provides cover at the Durban Stadium in Durban, South Africa. (Reuters photo)
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Switzerland forward EREN DERDIYOK (19) of German club Bayer Leverkusen is sent flying after the feet-first challenge of off-his-line Spain goalkeeper IKER CASILLAS of Real Madrid shortly into the second half on the opening day of Group H play at the 2010 World Cup finals from South Africa. (Steve Haag/Getty Images Europe)
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The Spanish defender, GERARD PIQUE (3) of Barcelona, having gone to ground, the loose ball is left for Switzerland midfielder GELSON FERNANDES (16) of French club St. Etienne to latch onto as Spanish defender JOAN CAPDEVILA (11) of Real Valladolid prepares for a final stand. (Jesper Juinen/Getty Images Europe)
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Gelson Fernandes, a 24-year-old native of the Cape Verde Islands who moved to Switzerland with his family at age five, wastes no time with the virtually unguarded goal at his disposal as the stranded Casillas struggles to recover. (Jesper Juinen/Getty Images Europe)
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On his 26th appearance for Switzerland, Gelson Fernandes, who failed to score in 30 French league games for St. Etienne this season, finds the back of the net in the 52nd minute of the match against Spain for his third career international goal — his first, however, on the grand stage that is the World Cup. (Steve Haag/Getty Images Europe)
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(Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe) — When English club Manchester City reportedly paid 9.1 million Swiss francs (about 4.2 million English pounds) to FC Sion for the services of Gelson Fernandes in the summer of 2007, the fee was believed to be the second-highest ever in the history of Swiss league football.

After making 21 league starts in midfield for Manchester City his first season in England, Gelson made all but three of his Premiership appearances as a substitute during the 2008-09 campaign.

Gelson Fernandes transferred to AS St. Etienne in France for a reported sum of two million English pounds last summer.
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(Steve Haag/Getty Images Europe)
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The wicked, long-range drive from Spain midfielder XABI ALONSO (14) of Real Madrid off a floor ball following a corner kick whacks off the crossbar with the Swiss keeper Benaglio clearly beaten in the 70th minute at the Durban Stadium in Durban, South Africa. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images Europe)
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Spain striker DAVID VILLA (7) of Valencia, the leading goal-scorer at the 2008 European Championships finals co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland, is beaten to a loose ball by the brave Swiss keeper Benaglio in the Group H match at the 2010 World Cup from South Africa. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Europe)
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(Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe)
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(Reuters photo)
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In addition to dealing effectively with the high balls in his area, the Bundesliga-based Swiss goalkeeper Benaglio blocked five Spanish shots in Durban and also came off his line well a few times to boot. For the match, Spain took three times as many shots at goal as did their Swiss counterparts. Certainly, the play of the 26-year-old Benaglio, on his 29th appearance for his country, was precious from Switzerland’s point of view. (Press Association Images)

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Entering the 2010 World Cup final tournament in South Africa, the European champions from 2008 had won twelve games on the trot; the loss to Switzerland was only the second defeat for the national team of Spain in its last 50 international matches.

Spain’s last negative result had come in July of 2009 at the hands of the United States in the FIFA Confederations Cup, ironically enough, a tournament also held in South Africa.

Prior to that, Romania had been the last squad to vanquish Spain, in November of 2006.

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