Switzerland v Ecuador – Swiss To Roll Over Ecuador
Switzerland v Ecuador
Switzerland take on Ecuador with both sides hoping for a good start so they can hang to the coat-tails of group favourites France.
England and Italy face off in Manaus late Saturday night and both will be desperate not to lose. Can England get off to a flyer? Or will Cesare Prandelli’s me do a typical Italian Job?
Ecuador have struggled since earning their ticket to Brazil ,and for a considerable period before that in truth. They’ve won only two of their past 14 fixtures – against Australia, when they went 3-0 down before staging a remarkable comeback, and Uruguay in qualification last October. Probably the least fancied of all the South Amercian sides to reach the tournament, they have, however, held the likes of Argentina, Holland and, most recently, England, to draws in the past 12 months. Ecuador benefitted greatly from the high altitudes in Quito for their home qualifiers and took 22 of their total 25 points on their home patch to finish fourth and take the final automatic place on offer to teams in the CONEMBOL.
Enner Valencia has scored three in his last four games for his country, including the opening goal of the game against England.
Despite earning a seeding spot for the tournament on account of their top ten world ranking, few will expect Switzerland to feature in the final stages of the competition but they are more than capable of causing huge problems. Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfield has put together a dynamic side who have lost just one of their past 18 games though and even defeated World Cup hosts Brazil over that run of games, though they do struggle to find creativity. They made the most of a favourable qualification group to finish unbeaten ahead of Norway, Slovenia and runners-up Iceland, conceding only six goals in ten games but were beaten by South Korea since and struggled for narrow wins over Jamaica (1-0) and Peru (2-0) in their last two outings.
21-year-old attacker Josip Drmic has hit three in his past three games for the Swiss.
Hitzfeld has an array of experienced performers in defensive roles to call upon mixed with a good blend of youth to add to the attack while talented Bayern playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri will try to offer some spark to their play. With many of their starting XI earning their keep in Serie A and the Bundesliga the Swiss and can be relied upon even if they don’t offer fireworks.
Only four of Ecuadar’s squad play football in Europe, while Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia will be the most familiar to Premier League fans, though striker Felipe Caicedo was previously on the books at Manchester City.
Head to Head
This will be the first time these teams have clashed in international football as they have often tended to avoid each other while qualifying for alternative tournaments, with Ecuador only reaching the last 16 for the first time eight years ago while the Swiss haven’t managed the feat since 1994.
The draw is quite a short price at 21/10 here with the presumption that it will be more important for neither to suffer a loss that would be likely to ruin their chances of reaching the second round before it’s started.
I think Switzerland are well worth backing and overpriced at 6/4 against a team that struggle outside of their surroundings while Drmic is the pick of the goalscorers market at 6/4.