Switzerland v Ecuador: Preview and prediction – 15.06.2014

By on June 15, 2014

Switzerland will face Ecuador in their opening game of this year’s World Cup and will be looking to make a similar start to the campaign in South Africa back in 2010 where they picked up a victory against Spain in their opening game.

Switzerland have been one of the most exciting sides in World Cup qualification not just because of their style of play but because of the effectiveness as well. They faced no problems in qualification as they gathered 24 points from a possible 30 during that qualification stage. The young group of players is thriving under Ottmar Hitzfeld and the Germans footballing philosophy is turning this Swiss side into a real threat. They are the favorites alongside France to qualify for the next round from this group and some might tip them to top the group as well. However, Hitzfeld must not let the praise get to his players and send the wrong signals. They will have to work hard for a place in the knockout phase as France will obviously cause problems for them, but apart from them even Ecuador will prove to be a nuisance as was evident from their display against England in a recent friendly. With all three points in this game, they will put pressure on France who play their game later on and that could be valuable as both the teams fight for the top spot. Keep in mind that the team finishing top of the group plays a team finishing second from the other group and that is a very advantageous position to be in come the start of the knockout round. If Switzerland win this game, they’ll face France next. The game against Honduras can be expected to go in their favour and in that case the fate of the group will be decided on the France – Switzerland game where anything can happen.

Switzerland’s defensive record has been sublime throughout qualification and even before that, in the major tournaments. If they can maintain the same defensive organization in this tournament and this game specifically then they have a great chance to get all three points from this one because soring will not a be a problem for them either. They have a good attacking line-up with a couple of players capable of individual brilliance. They key will be to maintain their good defensive record.

They played two friendlies prior to the World Cup and won both of them, scoring three while conceding none in those games. Switzerland have only conceded one goal in their last seven World Cup games combined. Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side were unbeaten in World Cup qualification, winning seven and drawing three of their 10 qualifiers.

Ecuador’s route to the World Cup was rather shaky and they barely avoided they playoffs owing to a better goal difference as compared to Uruguay. However, Reinaldo Rueda knows that it doesn’t matter how you make it to the torunament as lng as you do. They are in a tough group where France are considered the favorties to finish top and Switzerland are expected to finish behind them but Rueta’s side have a very good chance to cause a few upsets and qualify for the next round. Their chances against France might be thing but this is a game where they can do very well if they keep their heads. What they must avoid is underestimating the Swiss side as Ottmar Hitzfeld’s young squad might be relatively inexperienced but there is no doubtgin their quality. Rueta’s team do have one advantage over their European opponents and that is their better adaptability to the humid weather. The tough humid conditions have effected European sides in these early games and the trend is expected to continue in this game as well. If they can scrap out a win in this game, then they will be in a very good position to at least challenge for the 2nd place finish. A draw would work for both sides as it will come down to how they perform against France, in order for them to qualify for the next round. If Rueta’s side ose this one however, then their chances will get even more slim and they will have to rely on Switzerland losing points against France and Honduras in order to make it to the next round.

Rueta’s side play with a flat 4-4-2 and that has worked well for them on occassions. Their run in the World Cup qualifiers might suggest otherwise but their defensive line can be a nuisance at times and cause real problems for the opposition. As was evident from their game against England where they fought out a 2-2 draw. They were really hard to break down and another defensively sound performance could earn them at least a draw from this game. Talking about their defence, their attack might be realtively unknown to most viewers but there is no doubt that the likes of Antonio Valencia and Felipe Caicedo can cause a lot of problems for the opposition defences on their day.

Ecuador played three friendlies on their way to the World Cup, drawing two and losing one of them. The loss came against Mexico and it was a performance that Rueta would not want to see again. They did draw against England in their last friendly and that would motivate the players in a very positive fashion. Ecuador have never drawn a game at a World Cup, winning three and losing four so far. Felipe Caicedo scored seven goals in nine games in qualification, including one run of scoring in four in a row and will be a key player in this game. Reinaldo Rueda’s side also made the most crosses in CONMEBOL qualification (396) and that is down to the basic 4-4-2 that they employ.

Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld will employ the same 4-2-3-1 that has served them so well in this game although he will have a hard time chosing players for some of the positions. Dzemaili, Inler and Behrami are all fighting for the spot in midfield while Schar, Djourou, Senderos and von Bergen will be fighting for the center back spots. Much of the attacking threat will be down to Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri, and Drmic who recently signed for Bayer Leverkusen. Left Back Ricardo Rodriguez will be under the radar as well as many big European clubs will be watching him very closely and if he performs well in this tournaent, he could earn a new big money deal.

Ecuador will have to make do without a couple of key players as Segundo Castillo is out of the World Cup with an injury. Plus, Christian Noboa is doubtful for this game as well. Edison Mendez and Carlos Gruez could make the starting line-up in the absence of these players. Felipe Caicedo and Enner Valencia will start up front.

DATE: June 15, 2014


VENUE: Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasilia, Distrito Federal

Switzerland (4-2-3-1):- Benaglio; Rodriguez, Schar, Djourou, Lichsteiner; Behrami, Inler; Stocker, Mehmedi, Shaqiri; Drmic
Ecuador (4-4-2):- Dominguez; Ayovi, Guagua, Erazo, Paredes; Montero, Noboa, Mendez, Valencia; Caicedo, Valencia

Switzerland:- W W D
Ecuador:- D L D

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Switzerland 3-1 Ecuador

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