Another day chock full of plenty of drama at the World Cup.
Here’s how Sunday’s matches shook out:
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador | Full Recap
Take a bow, Valon Behrami.
With the game tied 1-1 deep into second half stoppage time, Switzerland defender Behrami made a huge sliding tackle in his own box to block off what looked like a dangerous chance for Ecuador. He then popped up, picked up the ball and took off down the field, flying toward the midway stripe before being taken out by an Ecuadoran defender.
He would’ve been within his rights to stop there. The referee had seen the foul and was poised to blow his whistle. Most players in his position probably would’ve rolled around on the ground in pain.
He bounced right back up, finding the ball, playing the referee’s advantage and picking out a teammate on the right sideline.
Give all credit to Valon Behrami.. Instead of rolling on ground after ECU challenge, popped back to his feet. Advatage play. Swiss winner.— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) June 15, 2014
What happened next will live on in Swiss soccer history.
Swiss forward Haris Seferovic collected on the right, quickly switching to defender Ricardo Rodriguez on the opposite flank. Rodriguez – who assisted on the Swiss’ first goal – took the ball down, dribbled down the sideline and whipped a low cross into the area. Seferovic – who had fabulously continued his run from the right flank – met the ball inside the six, hammering it home into the top of the net from close-range to give Switzerland the 2-1 win.
Check out video of the entire sequence above.
Both sides will be back in action on Friday, when Switzerland will take on France and Ecuador will face off against Honduras.
France 3-0 Honduras | Full Recap
CONCACAF’s unbeaten run at the World Cup came to an end on Sunday, with France rolling through 10-man Honduras by a tune of 3-0.
Things went horribly wrong for Honduras in the 43rd minute, when midfielder Wilson Palacios was whistled for a PK and shown his second yellow card for barging into France midfielder Paul Pogba inside the area. France forward Karim Benzema converted the ensuing penalty in the 45th minute, giving Les Blues a 1-0 lead over the 10-man Catrachos.
France – which had looked comfortable when Honduras had all 11 players – made it 2-0 quickly after halftime, with Karim Benzema launching a shot from the left side of the box off the far post, off of Honduras ‘keeper Noel Valladares and in. FIFA officially credited the score as an own goal for Valladares.
The goal was the first of the World Cup that made major use of FIFA’s newly-implemented goal line technology.
Goal-Line Technology. It works. pic.twitter.com/3zfnRXBmCh— ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2014
Benzema removed any remaining doubt in the 72nd minute, completing his brace to give France a 3-0 lead.
Both France and Honduras will return to action on Friday. France will take on Switzerland in a battle of the top-two teams in Group E at 1:00 p.m. MT and Honduras will battle Ecuador with both sides’ Group E hopes on the line at 4:00 p.m. MT. Both matches will be shown live on ESPN.
Argentina 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina | Full Recap
Argentina’s victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina was about one thing, and one thing only: His goal.
Long maligned for perceived poor performances in his two previous World Cups, Argentina star Lionel Messi scored an absolutely magical goal in the 65th minute to put Argentina up 2-0. It was pure Messi; he picked up the ball just right of center, skipped toward the sideline, played a perfect ball to Gonzalo Higuain up top, scampered toward the center, collected Higuain’s return ball, took three wonderfully close touches toward the top of the arc and rifled a curling left-footer off the left post and into the back of the net.
The goal gave La Albiceleste a 2-0 lead over Bosnia-Herzegovina, which did end up making things interesting with an 85th minute goal from striker – and longtime St. Louis resident – Vedad Ibisevic. Argentina held firm for the final five minutes though, and now sit atop Group F. Both sides will return to action on Saturday, when Argentina will take on Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina will face off against Nigeria.
We’re just about 24 hours away from the U.S.’s World Cup opener, with the Americans set to take on Ghana in a crucial Group G battle at 4:00 p.m. MT on ESPN on Monday. RSL’s Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando will be suiting up for the U.S., which will likely need at least a point against the Black Stars in order to have any shot at advancing from the Group of Death.
Of course, U.S.-Ghana is hardly the only big matchup on tap for Monday. Germany and Portugal will face off at 10:00 a.m. MT on ESPN in the other Group G match, a game that promises to be an intense battle between one of the best sides in the world in Germany and one of the best players in the world in Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Iran and Nigeria will follow Portugal-Germany, kicking off Group F action at 1:00 p.m. MT on ESPN.