The disappointment of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will likely be on Switzerland’s minds when they bid to reach the last 16 by beating Honduras.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men were hammered 5-2 by Group E leaders France in their previous encounter last Friday, a result that leaves them behind Ecuador – 2-1 winners over Honduras – in the fight for second place on goal difference.
But, with Ecuador facing a France side that has looked imperious so far in the competition, the odds of progression should be firmly in Switzerland’s favour.
Switzerland will go through if they better Ecuador’s result on Wednesday, but a last-16 spot is still a possibility even with a defeat, providing Reinaldo Rueda’s side suffer a sufficiently heavy loss to France.
The equation is much more complicated for Honduras, who do still have a slim chance of a place in the second round, despite losing their first two matches.
Luis Suarez’s side need a victory in Manaus and a significant swing in goal difference to leapfrog Ecuador into second place and progress.
That scenario is an unlikely one, but Switzerland will be fearful of a fixture that will bring up bad memories.
Switzerland faced Honduras in their final group encounter in South Africa four years ago, but they were unable to secure the required victory as the Central American side earned a goalless draw to send Hitzfeld’s team home.
The Swiss, who beat eventual champions Spain in the opening game of the 2010 competition, are keen to make sure they do not suffer the same fate this time around, and midfielder Blerim Dzemaili knows it will take a determined performance to see off Honduras.
“Everyone can nurture big dreams, but first we have to do a little homework and that is to beat Honduras,” Dzemaili said.
“We have seen that the big teams just relying on individuals are quickly eliminated, which little Switzerland can’t afford.
“We have to give our all together, like we did against France, but we also had some bad luck after they scored their early goals.”
But Switzerland will have to cope without defender Steve von Bergen, who has flown home after fracturing a cheekbone in the defeat to France.
Philippe Senderos and Fabian Schar are the likely candidates to replace Von Bergen, while Johan Djourou heads into the contest carrying a booking.
Wilson Palacios returns from suspension for Honduras after being sent off in their opener with France.
However, Victor Bernardez, Jerry Bengtson, Luis Garrido and Boniek Garcia are all in danger of a ban should they progress after picking up cautions in the previous two matches.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!