Switzerland will face a stern test as group leaders France prepare to meet them in the second round of matches in Group E, at the FIFA World Cup 2014. The match will be played at the Mangabeira stadium in Salvador de Bahia on Friday, June 20.
The Swiss outfit came out on top against Ecuador in their opener as they went on to win 2-1. The match represented a good test for Switzerland with Ecuador testing their opponents throughout the game. As the score line suggests, the match was not a straight forward affair and Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men were made to work for their victory.
The defence looked really solid from the word go as Johan Djourou and Steve Von Bergen fought valiantly at the back for their country. The Swiss have an excellent left back in Ricardo Rodriguez, who is in great form at the present time. Rodriguez happens to be one of Europe’s most wanted left backs currently. He also has illustrious company at the opposite flank which is occupied by Juventus’ right back Stephen Lichtsteiner.
In the opener, Switzerland relied on goals from their forwards, Haris Seferovic, and Admir Mehmedi to win the game. There was some really good work in the middle of the park from Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami while the likes of Gokhan Inler and Xherdan Shaqiri were absolutely brilliant on the wings as Switzerland took the game to Ecuador in what was a hard fought victory.
The manner of the victory will hold the Swiss in good stead. They displayed more will to win than their opponents which is important at a World Cup. France, meanwhile had it easy against Honduras in their opener. For the French, this match will be a real acid test.
Karim Benzema is in great form at the top of the field for the Les Bleus as he banged in a couple of goals and a deflected effort which was ruled an own goal against Honduras. Benzema has shown in the past that he is a confidence player and one could expect him to inflict some serious damage to Switzerland if the midfielders are able to create openings for the number 10.
With the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Antoine Griezmann in the lineup, one would expect France to create enough openings to kill the game. They have one of the world’s best young midfielders in Paul Pogba, who is a huge presence in the middle of the park. He shields the back four exceptionally well beside Blaise Matuidi and the pair will be looking to do the same on Friday.
Didier Deschamp’s chosen back four of Mathieu Debuchy, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho, and Patrice Evra kept a clean sheet against Honduras. Switzerland will be a different test altogether and the back four will have an important role to play.
Hugo Lloris is a great leader for France and ranks among the best goalkeepers of the present time. Lloris made some decent saves against Honduras and kept a clean-sheet which may prove to be the difference between the side which qualifies as group leaders and the side which qualifies as runners up.
One suspects that Lloris will have a bigger role to play against Switzerland who are very good on the counter.