Preview versus Honduras
Here we are…the final group game of Switzerland at this World Cup – with a lot riding on this.
…as it stands:
Chile: 6 points, 2 goals scored, 0 conceded (GD +2)
Spain: 3 points, 2 goals scored, 1 conceded (GD +1)
Switzerland: 3 points, 1 goal scored, 1 conceded (GD 0)
Honduras: 0 points, 0 goals scored, 3 conceded (GD -3)
Switzerland are still firmly in the hunt for a R16 appearance, as are Chile, Spain, and even to a lesser extent, Honduras. Never mind the order of the group, the teams to progress have yet to be decided here, and it is all very complicated in group H. For a reminder of all the possible scenarios, please have a quick glance at my last post which highlighted this.
The odds here favour a Swiss victory, but Switzerland defeating Honduras won’t guarantee us of a last 16 berth, as the outcome of the Chile – Spain clash needs to be considered because of the issue of goal difference. Though I personally prefer a system using head-to-head, the fact that there are so few teams in a group makes it a pointless alternative. So, how will the Swiss cope with the need of victory?
The loss against the Chileans certainly mean that Switzerland are at the mercy of Chile and Spain – something that coach Ottmar Hitzfeld blamed on the needless red card handed to Behrami (due to one of the many refereeing errors that have marred this World Cup):
“We had a great chance in the 90th minute, and a 1-1 draw would have been the perfect result for us. It would have been deserved as well because we had to play 10 v 11 for 60 minutes, and particularly because the red card wasn’t a red card, in my view.”
…a view shared by centre-back Steve Von Bergen:
‘We were completely thrown by the red card against Chile. We let ourselves be pressed too far back at the start, although we went out there intending to attack. It is hard work with 10 men.”
To guarantee our place amongst Uruguay, Mexico, USA, England, Germany and Ghana, Switzerland most defeat the Hondurans, and hope that Spain do not win against the Chileans.
This scenario isn’t entirely out of the question…Honduras have failed to impress at this World Cup thus far…and were lucky not to lose by four or five goals against Spain if it wasn’t for lousy finishing on their part.
Chile will no doubt push to be group winners, for the prestige of this and to avoid Brzail in the next round.
Spain may drop points due to their under-preforming against both Switzerland and Honduras…whereas Chile have impressed all pundits with their display of attacking football.
Am I really hoping for this? Yes. However, this will mean that Spain crash out in the group stages of the World Cup…which shouldn’t be a great surprise, seeing as how Pele had labelled them favourites to win the World Cup – for those of you who may be confused with why I said this, please have a delightful little read of this article.
So…I guess the question is who do I think will be the key players for Switzerland’s quest to advance from group H? Well, that’s easy: Diego Benaglio and Gökhan Inler.
I have named Benaglio man of the match on both occasions that Switzerland plays, and I have become greatly impressed by the role played by Udinese’s Inler during this summer’s games:
The stand-in captain has been our outfield-wonder, and though it was Gelson Fernandes who grabbed the winning goal against Spain – the credit has to go to Inler for his couragous run.
…and just a little side note on formations; I don’t believe that captain, Alex Frei is up to the fitness required in such a crucial clash, but I think that a second-half-substitution appearance is reasonable. I’d also like to show my contentment that Beharami won’t be able to play (mostly because of the fitness issue as well)…so I hope that we field an XI resembling:
1st—– N’Kufo for Derdiyok
2nd—-Yakin for Inler
3rd—–Frei for Fernandes/ Huggel (and then a switch with Yakin)
Unfortunately, I won’t be giving a prediction on this result…mostly because there are too many ‘ifs’ and too much riding not only on this match, but also on the Chile – Spain match. Nonetheless, I am hoping, with every fibre in my body that Switzerland advance to the next round…I don’t care how, I don’t care who they’ll face….I just want Switzerland to go through…
Keep sending in those comments!
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