World Cup 2014: Switzerland v Ecuador match preview - International - Football - The Independent

World Cup 2014: Switzerland v Ecuador match preview

A look ahead to Sunday’s Group E match in Brazil’s capital

After an undefeated run at the European qualifiers, Switzerland would love to extend their streak against Ecuador in their group opening match. The Swiss are the favourites to move on to the Round of 16 along with France but Ecuador have proven to be quite a challenging side against strong teams.

It is all smiles for the 2001 Champions League-winning manager Ottmat Hitzfeld as he got all hands on deck ahead of Sunday’s fixture and will be relying a lot on his defence, which is led by Juventus right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner. He will also be looking at his star midfielder Granit Xhaka to offer plenty of solutions at the centre and the wings and to also contribute to the defensive style of play thanks to his impressive pace, strength and passing skills.

The Ecuadorians, on the other hand, have not had the chance to taste victory in their warm-up matches but really made up for it with a draw against England and 2010 finalists Netherlands – although lost 3-1 to Mexico. Manager Reinaldo Rueda will be counting a lot on Manchester United right-winger and star player Antonio Valencia as well as the extremely talented Jefferson Montero who will be expected to start on the left.

 

KICK-OFF: Sunday, 5pm

 

PAST MEETINGS…

The teams have never met before.

 

STATS…

Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld has experienced plenty of success as a coach as he has won the Bundesliga on separate occasions with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and has also picked up a Champions League trophy.

The Swiss have not lost a match since last November against South Korea whereas Ecuador have not won any of their last three warm-ups.

Ecuador’s best performance in the World Cup was in 2006 when La Tri made it to the Group of 16 – however, the South Americans were eliminated by a David Beckham free kick. The Swiss, on the other hand, have made it to the quarter-finals three times in 1934, 1938 and 1954.

Switzerland are picking up their tenth appearance in the finals whereas Ecuador will be featuring for the third time – La Tri’s debut took place in 2002.

 

ODDS…

Switzerland to win: 6.4

Ecuador to win: 11.5

Draw: 21.10

 

TV: Live on ITV at 5pm

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