Spain, Switzerland prepare for encounter

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Spain, the team tipped to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will kick off their campaign against Switzerland in Group H on Wednesday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Fans in the city will be treated to displays by some of their sporting idols when the likes of David Villa, Xavi, Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos take the field.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona's Andries Iniesta have all carried injuries weeks prior to the June 11 kick-off.

Torres, who recovered from knee surgery, is likely to be on the substitutes' bench but Fabregas is expected to make the starting line-up.

After thumping Poland 6-0 in one of three friendly matches, Spain is also likely to breeze through the group stage (which include Chile and Honduras) and advance to the next round.

But there are some football experts who feel that the Spanish team, that boasts a host of world superstars, might not be experienced enough to progress to the finals.

The 2008 Euro Champions do not have the most impressive record at the World Cup.

The failed to qualify in 1970, 1974 and didn't get pass the first round in 1978.

The furthest they have reached in a World Cup is the quarterfinal and in their most recent World Cup endeavour in Germany in 2006, they managed only to get to round two.

Nevertheless, fans will zoom into Moses Mabhida on Wednesday to see if La Roja will demolish Switzerland, who have not had the best of luck recently.

The team suffered two big setbacks ahead of their opening clash against a formidable Spanish side who on previous occasion could afford to leave a player like Fabregas on the bench.

Swiss captain Alexander Frei injured his ankle and midfielder Valon Behrami suffered a thigh injury.

Both Frei and Behrami, though, are likely to recover in time for Switzerland's match against Chile next week.

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