Switzerland v France Preview

Group E | Friday 20 June | Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador | 21:00




After both sides bagged three points in their opening matches this is game that will most likely decide which of the European neighbours top the group. The French are favourites to get the win, but the Swiss have a team that could upset the applecart.

To Win (90mins)
Switzerland 7/2
Draw 5/2
France 8/10

SWITZERLAND

Substitute Haris Seferovic scored in the third minute of stoppage time to earn Switzerland a dramatic win over Ecuador in their opening match.

Seferovic turned in Ricardo Rodriguez's low cross as Ottmar Hitzfeld's side came back from behind to claim victory.

Fellow substitute Admir Mehmedi headed Switzerland level after Enner Valencia had given Ecuador a half-time lead.

Valencia's header from a Walter Ayovi free-kick was his fifth goal in successive games for his country.

Hitzfeld's two substitutions were key to turning around a match that looked to be slipping away from his side after a poor first-half display.

The coach, a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, is retiring at the end of the World Cup - and has set himself the target of guiding Switzerland to their first quarter-final since 1954.

Switzerland are a nation that always seem to do much better than expected and once again they appear to have a squad filled to the brim with industry, but this time they have a little bit of magic too.

Switzerland are certainly a strong outside bet to do well. With Ecuador and Honduras the other teams in this pool, this game is likely to decide which of these two sides will top Group E.

The Swiss has in recent times been built around the industry of Napoli duo Valon Behrami and skipper Gokhan Inler.

However, in Xherdan Shaqiri they finally have a genuine playmaker and his presence should be taken into account.

FRANCE

Karim Benzema scored twice as France became the first team to benefit from goal-line technology at a World Cup in their victory over 10-man Honduras.

The moment occurred in the 48th minute for France's second goal, when it ruled keeper Noel Valladares nudged Karim Benzema's shot over the line.

The Real Madrid forward gave France the lead from the spot after Paul Pogba had been fouled by Wilson Palacios.

Benzema added a late third with a vicious strike from a tight angle. France’s form over the last few World Cups has been one of the true puzzles of world football.

They failed to make it out of the group stages in 2002 and 2010, but were beaten finalists in 2006.

Their progress could depend on the spirit within the camp, especially after the much documented fallouts that engulfed the set-up four years ago in South Africa.

However, as they showed in winning the tournament in 1998, when they are all pulling together, Les Bleus can beat anyone in the world.

However, the talent within their squad suggests the 2014 World Cup could be a huge success for the country and they proved just how ruthless they can be in their opening game.

One of Les Bleus’ best players on the night at Estadio Beira-Rio, the 26-year-old finally appears to be ready to deliver for his country when they need him most.

Without a goal in a major international tournament prior to the game, Benzema took both his penalty and venomous second half finish well.

Considering the confidence he had approaching the game thanks to a run of five goals in six games for France, he will feel as if a weight has been lifted from his shoulders with that clinical showing.

France’s Mathieu Valbuena continued to underline his key role in Didier Deschamps’ team with another superlative performance.

The Olympique de Marseille man endured a disappointing club campaign, but goes from strength to strength at international level.

The 29-year-old was instrumental once more as Les Bleus capitalised on their one-man advantage. Benzema is the talisman of this France side, but Valbuena’s ability to consistently link up with him as will be crucial to their future hopes.

Betting PredictionFRANCE 8/10
These teams have been extremely well-matched over the years, with France winning 15 of their encounters, Switzerland 12 and nine draws between them. However, the Swiss haven’t emerged victorious since 1992 and this may be something to consider. The last time the pair met was at the 2006 World Cup, with the two sides playing out a goalless draw, a result that helped both teams progress to the knockout stages. However, France have been in superb form and are tipped for the win.  

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

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