World Cup post-game: Chile 1, Honduras 0
Chile put on an impressive attacking display in earning a 1-0 victory over Honduras on Wednesday in Group H action from the FIFA World Cup in South Africa
The main storyline
It was a victory 48 years in the making.
Chile has been a semi-regular World Cup participant (this is its eighth appearance), but Wednesday marked the country's first tournament victory since defeating Yugoslavia — exactly 48 years ago to the date — in the third-place game of the 1962 competition staged on home soil.
The country's 13-game winless came to an end because the team remained true to its tactical identity. Chile qualified for this World Cup under the tutelage of Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa, who preaches attacking soccer, playing a possession game and dictating the pace of the match through ball retention.
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This philosophy was in full view Wednesday. The Chileans played some wonderful attacking soccer, putting Honduras under a constant barrage of pressure via some pretty passing plays, overlapping runs down the flanks and dangerous movement off the ball.
Honduras struggled to contain the Chilean tide, and but for some bad luck, the South Americans could have handed them a heavier defeat.
While one streak ended, another continued — Honduras is still looking for its first World Cup win, having failed to record a victory in its only other tournament appearance, in 1982 in Spain.
The winning goal
The stalemate was broken in the 34th minute, a product of a great series of perfectly knitted passes. Matias Fernandez threaded a sublime ball behind the Honduras defence to the overlapping Mauricio Isla, who ran to the end-line and played a cutback pass to Jean Beausejour, who scored from close range.
Turning point of the game
Chile had the game well in hand from the opening kickoff, but Beausejour's goal put the outcome beyond the reach of Honduras.
What this result means
Chile takes the early lead in Group H with three points, while Honduras has stumbled out of the gate.
The South Americans are now well-positioned to advance to the round of 16, likely only needing four points from their last two games to claim a second-round berth.
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Honduras has some work to do. Teams typically need five or six points to finish in the top two positions, so the Central Americans can ill afford any other setbacks in their remaining group-stage games.
Man of the match
Jorge Valdivia was brilliant for Chile, effectively pulling the creative strings for his country and setting up his teammates with scoring chances by constantly feeding them with defence-splitting passes.
Save of the match
With Chile leading 1-0, Waldo Ponce collected a short pass played into the middle and nodded it home from close ranger. Ponce's effort had goal written all over it, but Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares scrambled across his goal-line and deflected the ball away to make a miraculous stop.
The Chilean perspective
"We're very happy, and we have to enjoy this triumph. But we have to move ahead and win the game against our next rival." — forward Alexis Sanchez
The Honduran perspective
"It's a fair result. We didn't have a clear chance at goal. We knew we could lose this match, but qualifying out of the group is not impossible." — defender Sergio Mendoza
Chile takes on Switzerland in Port Elizabeth on June 21 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 9:30 a.m. ET), while Honduras meets Spain the same day in Johannesburg (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).