Switzerland v Ecuador Preview

Group E | Sunday 15 June | Estadio Nacional de Brasilia Mane Garrincha, Brasilia | 18:00




Switzerland and Ecuador clash in their opening matches knowing full well that this is their most important game in the group stages as a place in the knockout phase will probably come down to how they do here, with France favourites to top the group while Honduras should be lucky to claim a point in their three matches.

To Win (90mins)
Switzerland 2/11
Draw 53/10
Ecuador 2/1

SWITZERLAND

A constant participant lately in the World Cup, with appearances in 2006 and 2010, the Swiss will try to demonstrate their growth and maturity this time and achieve what would be a surprise on the grand stage of football.

Switzerland have never had a squad blossoming with talent like the current one with quite a few names playing across Europe’s top clubs.

They also have a lot of young players who are coming off good seasons – Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Taulant Xhaka (Monchengladbach), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Josip Drmic (Nuremburg) and Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad), add to those the names that play for Basel like Fabian Schaer, Valentin Stocker and Yan Sommer, not too many teams across Europe have that amount of young talents coming through their ranks.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Swiss team lacks experience. The Napoli triad of Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili & current captain Gokhan Inler are a reckoning force in the midfield.

Arguably their biggest player is Juventus wingback Stephan Lichtsteiner, who’s no doubt one of the best among his position. The wizard of the team is Bayern’s Shaqiri.

With a strong left foot and great athleticism, on his day the wing man is unstoppable, he may have suffered from irregularity of playing time and injuries at Bayern, but he is irreplaceable for his national team.

After being drawn into one of the easier qualification groups, Switzerland made sure of booking a place at the World Cup by topping their table with seven points more than second place Iceland.

Ten games played, seven wins and three draws, the most important part of that record is the fact that they remained unbeaten through the whole process.

ECUADOR

Ecuador finished fourth in CONMEBOL qualifying, edging Uruguay for an automatic place based on their +4 goal differential. However, much of that was due to home ground advantage.

Ecuador earned 22 of a possible 24 points playing at home, where Quito is 9,350 feet above sea level. Outside of Ecuador, they took three from a possible 24. Ecuador plays a 4-4-2.

They are physical, aggressive, spread things out and attempt to counter attack quickly down the wings. Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia is Ecuador’s most accomplished club player.

He’s not quite the force he was before he suffered a broken ankle in 2010, but he’s still dependable and formidable.

For club Valencia plays a supporting role but for his national team he takes the bull by the horns and drives his team from the get-go.

Felipe Caicedo headlines their strike force. Now plying his trade in the U.A.E, he is better known for stints across Europe, most notably with Manchester City and Malaga.

He scored seven times in qualifying and the big man will be hoping to make his mark on the big stage.

They are captained by 34-year-old Mexican based defender Walter Ayovi who will need to be instrumental to fend off Switzerland’s charges.

Most of the squad is domestic Ecuadorean players, Mexican league players and a few are washed out in second-tier European leagues.

Ecuador might not boast the best team on paper but they are a spirited bunch that put their bodies on the line and are willing to give their all for their country.

Ecuador's achievement of reaching its third World Cup was overshadowed by the death of striker Christian Benitez midway through qualifying, and the team will be looking to go far in this tournament in honour of the striker who contributed four goals during qualification.

The 27-year-old Benitez died of heart failure in Qatar on July 29 and was Ecuador's star forward at the time with 24 goals in 58 appearances.

Betting PredictionDRAW 53/10
Switzerland may have the better team on paper but Ecuador will be playing in familiar conditions and could be a tough team for anyone to beat when at their best. They held Netherlands to a 1-1 draw in a recent friendly and Switzerland will need to be at the top of their game to overcome them. The draw looks the most likely result. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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