With a promising young attack and a defence that doesn’t too many goals, Switzerland come into the World Cup with quite a few predicting big things. Their opening clash against Ecuador in the capital city of Brazil promises to a fascinating one. The Swiss finally have an enthralling attack to go with their resolute defence and how they fare against the Ecuadorians who only just made it to the World Cup remains to be seen. Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasilia will play host to two sides who will be looking to take get their World Cup off to a winning start on Sunday.
Located in the capital city of Brasilia, the stadium named after the legendary Brazilian winger Garrincha is one of the biggest in this World Cup. With a capacity of over 65,000, it is not only one of the biggest stadium in Brazil, but located at 1172m above sea level, it is highest stadium in the tournament. Something that will no doubt suit the Ecuadorians, who will be hoping to capitalise on the strategic location of the stadium.
June 15 – 9.30 pm – Indian Standard Time (IST)
June 15 – 12.00 pm - Local Time
Possible Starting Line ups
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has no injury concerns to speak and the only real question is who will partner Steve von Bergen in central defence. Fabian Schar impressed in the last few games and expected to slot in. In midfield, Napoli midfielder is likely to sit on the bench as Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami take their place in the side.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Diego Benaglio; Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar, Steve von Bergen, Stephan Lichtsteiner; Gokhan Inler, Valon Behrami; Valentin Stocker, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri; Josip Drmic.
Ecuador on the other hand, have quite a few concerns, none more so than the fitness of Christian Noboa, who picked up a knock against England. Having already lost Segundo Castillo earlier this week, coach Reinaldo Rueda has his task cut out for him, as he hopes to help his side out of the group stage and into the knock round.
Ecuador (4-4-2): Alexander Dominguez; Walter Ayovi, Jorge Guagua, Frickson Erazo, Juan Carlos Paredes; Jefferson Montero, Christian Noboa, Fidel Martinez, Antonio Valencia; Enner Valencia, Felipe Caicedo.
How they will Line Up
Key Facts and Stats
- This will be the first ever international meeting between Switzerland and Ecuador.
- Switzerland have the best defensive record in the World Cup, having conceded just once in their last seven World Cup games combined.
- Ecuador have never drawn a game at a World Cup, winning three and losing the other four.
- La Tri have won all three World Cup games in which they have kept a clean sheet, whilst losing all four in which they conceded a goal.
- Ecuador had more shots (201) and crosses (396) than any other team in the CONMEBOL qualification.
- Switzerland are unbeaten since a friendly defeat to South Korea last November.
- Ecuador lost two of their three recent warm-up games, drawing the other 2-2 against England in Miami.
Antonio Valencia vs Ricardo Rodriguez
On club form, this wouldn’t even be a fair fight. The Ecuadorian skipper didn’t have the greatest of seasons for Manchester United while Ricardo Rodriguez arguably established himself as the best left back in the Bundesliga. Fortunately for Ecuador, Valencia has fared much better for the national side and much of their chances will hinge on him winning this battle on the wings. If Rodriguez continues his good club form into the World Cup, not only will he enhance his reputation further, but also perhaps earn him a big-money move abroad. Getting the better of Valencia, a winger who has tormented some of the best full backs in the world, will be a great start.
Gokhan Inler vs Christian Noboa
If Ecuador are to have any hope of getting anything from this game, they will have to halt the Swiss engine room from making too much inroads in attack. In Gokhan Inler, the Swiss have not just an influential midfielder, but a charismatic leader is well. A player capable of instigating attacks and stopping them with equal aplomb, Inler will be pivotal to his side’s chances in attack. If Ecuador are to have any chance against him, they will need their influential midfielder Noboa to be fit and firing. Failing which, they will find it difficult to halt the Swiss march. With Ecuador already struggling to control the central of the park, that seems unlikely, but that is what has to happen if they are to even have a shot at winning this game.
Given the injury-free nature of their squad, coupled with their steely defence, it will be hard for any side to break Switzerland down. Let alone a side fretting over the fitness of two of their key central midfielders. Although it is unlikely to be a rout, the Swiss have too much in the tank for an Ecuador side still struggling to cope with the loss of their talismanic forward. The only thing they have going for them, is the altitude, which might affect the Swiss players. Even then it is unlikely that the game ends as nothing other than a Swiss victory.
Predicted Score line: Switzerland 2-0 Ecuador
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant referee 1: Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant referee 2: Bakhadyr Kochkarov (KGZ)
Fourth official: Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)Published 15 Jun 2014, 13:39 IST