Behrami fumes at red as Chile on the brink

SWITZERLAND midfielder Valon Behrami accused Chile counterpart Arturo Vidal of destroying his World Cup after he was sent off in yesterday afternoon’s Group H clash.

The West Ham player was given a straight red card by Saudi Arabian referee Khalil Al Ghamdi after tangling with Jean Beausejour and then Vidal 30 minutes into his side’s 1-0 defeat by the South Americans.

Behrami said: “How I feel now is that it’s destroyed my World Cup. A season like this, it’s unbelievable.

“It surprised me because it’s normal to have contact in football. My movement wasn’t [intended] to create damage or do something to the player.

“I just wanted to protect the ball, like I have done every time. It’s unbelievable for me.”

Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was even more scathing about the decision, which left his team facing a desperate fight to stay in the game.

He said: “Of course I was angry because I was just three or four metres away when Valon Behrami defended the ball and then Vidal fell down with a lot of drama. It was quite a performance.

“It clearly wasn’t a red card – it wasn’t even a yellow card. It was unfair on the part of Vidal to roll around on the floor simply asking for the red card.

“There are some referees who should whistle on the field and some who should whistle on the beach.”

For all their numerical advantage, it took Chile until the 75th minute to get their winner when substitute Mark Gonzalez headed home off the underside of the crossbar.

Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, who has now guided his side to successive World Cup final victories after a 48-year wait for the first, said: “I just hope that these six points can be the basis for qualification.

“This, of course, is the immediate objective we have.”

Former Liverpool striker Gonzalez came off the bench to head Chile to within touching distance of the last 16, the 25-year-old, now at CSKA Moscow, goaling with 15 minutes remaining.

His goal sends the South Americans into their final Group H clash with Spain knowing a point will be enough to take them through to the knockout stages.

Switzerland, looking to build upon their shock victory over the Spaniards, found themselves up against it even before their numbers were reduced.

Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio had to make a fine double save from Arturo Vidal and Carlos Carmona with just 10 minutes gone, and he was in the right place at the right time five minutes before the break when Alexis Sanchez toe-poked a shot towards goal with his defenders once again conspicuous by their absence.

In truth, they had been already on the back foot for much of the first half with Chile’s midfield trio of Vidal, Carmona – who will miss the final group game against Spain after picking up a second booking – and Matias Fernandez causing problems.

CHILE: Bravo, Isla, Medel, Ponce, Jara, Vidal (Gonzalez 46), Carmona, Fernandez (Paredes 64), Sanchez, Beausejour, Suazo (Valdivia 46).

SWITZERLAND: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Grichting, Ziegler, Behrami, Inler, Huggel, Fernandes (Bunjaku 77), Frei (Barnetta 42), Nkufo (Derdiyok 68).

Referee: Khalil Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia).

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