Switzerland limp out
Both sides go out after bore draw
By James Riach. Last Updated: June 26, 2010 10:23am
Chavez and Fernandes tussle
Switzerland left the World Cup with a whimper after failing to beat Honduras as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw in Bloemfontein.
Group minnows Honduras leave the tournament as well after finishing bottom of Group H, but it is the Swiss who will be more disappointed following their opening defeat of Spain.
They end the pool in third position, and rarely threatened to break the deadlock after a lacklustre attacking display.
Striker Eren Derdiyok wasted a headed chance in the first-half but Honduras created the clearer opportunities after the break and both David Suazo and Edgar Alvarez should have done better.
But on this evidence neither side deserved to progress to the last 16 and it is Spain and Chile who advance to the knockout rounds.
The first-half in the Free State Stadium was an extremely lacklustre affair, despite what was at stake for both teams.
Switzerland were asking the most questions, but there was little attacking creativity and it was certainly not an entertaining spectacle for the neutral.
Hendry Thomas picked up a booking in the fourth minute after going through the back of Gokhan Inler, as the two sides felt their way into the game.
Inler then had the first chance of any note, dragging a shot wide with his left foot from the edge of the area in the 11th minute.
Soon after, Thomas tried to slide in David Suazo at the other end, but his pass was too long and Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio came out to claim.
The best opportunity to break the deadlock before half-time came after 17 minutes when Switzerland striker Eren Derdiyok found space at the back post.
Tranquillo Barnetta swept in a well-weighted cross from the right but Derdiyok could only head wide when he should have at least hit the target.
It proved to be the clearest chance in a dour 45 minutes, as there were only tame attempts at goal to follow.
Barnetta had a crack from long-range that was easily saved, before Gelson Fernandes picked up a yellow card for a blatant tug on Wilson Palacios.
Derdiyok's poor evening continued when he scuffed a half-chance in the 38th minute, but he delivered an excellent cross from the right hand side just before the break.
Sadly for Switzerland, however, his strike-partner Blaise Nkufo opted to chest the ball instead of using his head, and he got no power on his effort.
Manager Ottmar Hitzfeld will have informed his team that a one-goal win would be enough during the interval, as Spain were two up against Chile.
The experienced tactician also made an attacking change as Fernandes, already on a booking, was replaced by the more forward thinking Hakan Yakin.
Yakin made an instant impact as he linked up well on the edge of the area before having a strike, but his effort was closer to the corner flag than the goal.
Defender Stephane Grichting then suffered a nasty knock to the head after a clash with Jerry Palacios. He was able to continue, but only after receiving treatment.
Honduras had a clear chance to take the lead in the 53rd minute but David Suazo glanced his header wide from close range.
It was a great cross in from the right from Edgar Alvarez, and Suazo should have opened his country's account in South Africa.
To make matters worse he was then booked for a challenge on Grichting, as Switzerland began to press forward.
On the hour mark the Swiss launched a quick counter attack but Barnetta curled a tame effort into the keeper from the edge of the box.
Three minutes later Derdiyok had a shot from inside the area, but once again it was straight at Noel Valladares.
And with the men in red pushing forward to find a crucial goal, Honduras nearly capitalised as Alvarez was fed in, only to be denied by a superb save from Diego Benaglio in the 71st minute, tipping the ball over the bar.
Substitute Alex Frei was thrown on by Hitzfeld, as his side now needed a two-goal win because Chile had pulled one back against Spain.
Frei had a couple of half-chances soon after his arrival, but he fired a shot over before doing the same after latching on to a Yakin cross.
Stephan Lichtsteiner had a shot deflected over in the 80th minute, and Honduras nearly nicked it in injury time but substitute Georgie Welcome's effort was blocked before flying over.
The resulting corner evaded everyone and Yakin had a header saved at the other end, before the final whistle called time on a poor game.