A couple of big-name matchups in 2nd legs of domestic cup competitions coming up later today: (1) Carling Cup semifinal - Manchester City vs Liverpool - 8:45pm CET / 2:45pmET / 7:45pm GMT (USA TV: FSC); and (2) Copa dey Rey quarterfinal - Barcelona vs Real Madrid - 10pm CET / 4pm ET / 9pm GMT (USA TV: ESPN Deportes, GolTV, ESPN3.com)
This was an upset that absolutely no one thought would happen, except, perhaps, for Switzerland’s veteran German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who has, as they say, seen it all, or at least he’s seen the film of how the United States beat Spain last summer in the Confederations Cup. His surprisingly simple game plan gave the world a blueprint to beat the European champions. Journalists like the venerable @sidlowe are saying that Switzerland’s goal was “absurdly silly and fortunate,” but France went down to such a goal against Senegal and never recovered in 2002. It looked unlucky at the time, but seems indelible in retrospect.
Because Spain’s football is considered the standard for beauty, symmetry and international poetry, watching the Swiss defend them out of the match was a little like watching Republicans outmaneuver Harry Reid. It simply isn’t fair! Still, Spain will have to be more than poster children for liberal self-congratulation in their next game. They will have to adjust. Here are five issues Spain will have to understand if they are going to survive what is now a very tricky group: