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Chile’s Group H game against Switzerland was wrecked as a spectacle by the dismissal of Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami for what the referee saw as a serious foul on Chile’s Arturo Vidal — to the disbelief of Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld and his players.
It was an incident that changed the game from a nicely balanced encounter into one where Switzerland were forced to defend with 10 men for the best part of an hour eventually losing 1-0.
It would be interesting to see what FIFA make of the incident if they take a look at the TV pictures, which appear to show Vidal making a couple of hand swipes to the side of his opponent and then dropping to the floor, hands over face, as if he had been struck hard in the face – when it looked like he had barely been brushed.
“Vidal fell down with a lot of drama. It was quite a performance,” Hitzfeld said after the game. “It clearly wasn’t a red card — it wasn’t even a yellow card. It was unfair of Vidal to roll around on the floor and simply ask for a red card.”
Chile’s 1-0 win over Switzerland, with a controversial goal and a dubious red card for their opponents, may have been highly controversial but there was no contesting the words of their coach Marcelo Bielsa afterwards — simply because it was almost impossible to understand what he was saying.
After our first excursion into the mind of Bielsa, here are some more gems from the spectacularly verbose Argentine, whose team need a draw against Spain on Friday to make sure of a second round place.
Can there be a more difficult job at the World Cup than providing the simultaneous translation when Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa is speaking?
The enigmatic Bielsa, who coached his native Argentina at the 2002 World Cup, has a unique manner of expressing himself — he actually says much the same things as other coaches but talks like an eccentric professor.
Marcelo Bielsa’s feats – leading Chile’s national team to the third spot in the World Cup qualifiers and just one win from a ticket to South Africa 2010 – have turned him into one of Chile’s most beloved figures. Men say he should run for president; women rank the introverted coach a sex symbol.
His popularity is backed by numbers. A poll in El Mercurio newspaper ranks Bielsa the best trainer in Chile’s soccer history, above Nelson Acosta who took the team to the second round of France 1998 and Fernando Riera who led “La Roja” to the third spot in Chile 1962.