World Cup 2010: Chile Controls Match With Attacking Offense, Tops Honduras 1-0

Chile will face Honduras in South Africa 2010's early match on Wednesday. Almost one round through a tournament that's featured an excess of conservative play, Marcelo Bielsa's Chilean team will bring a refreshingly bold approach.

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Chile Vs. Honduras: Chileans Finish With Lots Of Sound And Fury, But Only One Goal

Call it a pampered complaint in this goal-starved World Cup, but the chief criticism one can level at Chile after their frenetic performance against Honduras is incompletion. Despite getting at least four (and possibly five) chances within sniffing distance of the goal, the single goal popped in by Beausejour would be the only score of the day for the side.

This came despite a second half best described as a dividend-free blowout, with Chile dominating the ball and Honduras providing no challenge whatsoever for Chile’s rampaging but misfiring attack. If Chile hopes to get out of group play, they’ll need to cash in on the missed opportunities, especially when facing sides like Spain (where they’ll need the goals to keep up) and Switzerland (where they’ll need to manufacture goals against a stingy defense.)

Still, Marcelo Bielsa’s team may have established themselves as a fan favorite with 90 minutes of continual and entertaining aggression, and definitely became the first Chilean side to win a World Cup game since 1962.

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Chile Vs. Honduras, World Cup 2010: Jean Beausejour Goal Puts Chile Up At Halftime, 1-0

Chile has been as advertised, refreshingly so.

Marcelo Bielsa’s team has attacked throughout the first half against Honduras and take a 1-0 lead into halftime. Winger Jean Beausejour was the goal scorer, finishing from the edge of the six yard box in the 34th minute.

Chile has had 70 percent of the first half possession, holding Honduras to one shot on goal.

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World Cup 2010 Chile Vs. Honduras Preview: Thank You, Marcelo Bielsa

Chile's World Cup 2010 debut should inject some life into a tournament that has seen too many teams conservatively approach their opening matches.  Don't expect the same from Marcelo Bielsa, who has designed his system around pressing advantages while accepting risk.  Having endured too many Carlos Queiroz, Gerardo Martino, Bob Bradley-led matches where coaches where unwilling to accept risks in order to exploit their opponents, Bielsa could end up a relative revolutionary in this tournament.

Honduras's health issues may prevent them from being as refreshing.  With the Catarachos having lost Julio Cesar de Leon and dealing with injury concerns with Wilson Palacios and David Suazo, they take a thinning squad into Wednesday's match against Chile.

Chile, Going Forward:  Conflicting reports out of Chile makes Humberto Suazo's status uncertain.  If he is out, right winger Alexis Sanchez will carry more scoring responsibility as Esteban Paredes starts in the central role.  Left wing Mark Gonzalez and attacking midfielder Matias Fernandez will also need to make up for the absence of Suazo, who - while not quite having the goal scoring rate as Sanchez - is the main cog in Bielsea's attack.

The left side of Honduras's defense will feel the most stress.  Left back Emilio Izaguirre and center half  Maynor Figueroa will be tasked with containing Sanchez, with Wilson Palacios always a factor as a destroyer.  Another implicit pressure they are, as well as the rest of Honduras's defense is, under:  Noel Valladares is the tournament's worst goalkeeper.  With Valladares in goal, "containing" an opponent carries a much higher standard.

Honduras, Going Forward:  David Suazo's health and Carlos Pavón's age are the biggest concerns, but the key to Honduras competing today may be Walter Martinez on the right wing.  As Chilean left wing Jean Beausejour moves forward, Palacios and midfielder Amado Guevara can utilize the space behind Beausejour, in front of or wide of Gonzalo Jara, and counter.   The player occupying that area will be Martinez who, if his midfielders find him, must make good decisions as Honduras breaks out.

The "break out" part of it will be important.  Honduras isn't the type of team that builds clever attacks, and against Chile, getting out of their own end quickly, attacking Chile's back three before they can recover and help the numeric disadvantage, can change the match.   Even if Honduras isn't able to turn their attacks into goals, the threat could for Chile to take their foot off the back.

This approach is helped immensely if David Suazo is healthy, with his talent making Chile pay for the spaces  that open up.  His movement and speed can exploit the spaces in a three man line.  Once in possession, he will be able to create opportunities for Carlos Pavón.  

If Suazo doesn't play, we could see George Welcome partnering Pavón.

Where The Match Turns:  The key for Honduras will be winning the ball in midfield so the Catarachos can spring counter attacks.  If Chile plays wide - building as much through Sanchez, Gonzalez, Beausejour and Gonzalo Fierro as Fernandez and Humberto Suazo or Paredes - they can avoid Honduras's strengths and maintain the pressure that's key to their approach.

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