Saturday, July 21, 2018

Prediction: Switzerland vs Costa Rica

Verdict: Switzerland to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: BetVictor

Switzerland head into their final match of the group stage well placed to seal their passage to the knockout phase of the World Cup and will need at least a draw against Costa Rica to make it happen.

Switzerland

Fresh off from a politically-charged triumph which saw two players of Kosovan descent – Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri – single-handedly defeat arch-rivals Serbia in a Group E crunch clash last week, Switzerland are heading towards their final match in the group stage with little to no pressure on their back.

Vladimir Petkovic’s men have shown great tactical discipline thus far at the World Cup with their physical approach paying dividends against both Brazil and Serbia. Having bullied Neymar in their opening match, the Swiss used the same approach to stop Aleksandar Mitrovic in their Serbia duel. Such an agenda, complemented by a strong showing at the centre of the pitch – courtesy of another two players of Albanian descent, Valon Behrami and Blerim Dzemaili – helped Switzerland get four points from first two matches. Petkovic’s men only need a point against Costa Rica to seal progression but they are more than capable of getting all three against the Central American side. Switzerland are an experienced side, strong both physically and mentally, and there is not a doubt in anyone’s mind that they will fail to reach their goal.

Team News

Vladimir Petkovic will have a full squad to choose from. Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner have avoided suspensions for making a double-headed eagle gesture at the Serbia match and will be at their manager’s disposal.

Costa Rica

With zero points after two matches in the group stage, Costa Rica will have already packed their bags. Already-eliminated side is unlikely to put in much of a fight and will be looking to get it done with as soon as possible so they can go home for a much-needed rest.

Often described as the Switzerland of the Central American region, Costa Rica nurtures close diplomatic ties with their European friends. The forthcoming clash, even though without any competitive edge for Costa Rica will be a nice chance for the team to sign off with a spirited performance against the more prominent rivals. Costa Rica will be feeling disappointed not to have gotten at least a point against Brazil and could go all in against Switzerland knowing there is no pressure whatsoever heading into the match. Their maverick approach could cause problems for Switzerland, but the Europeans are too experienced to let it do them any harm.

Team News

Costa Rica could make a couple of changes as Oscar Ramirez is likely to reward a couple of younger players with a run in the final match at the tournament.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Costa Rica have not had a draw in their last ten matches in all competitions
  • The Central American have yet to beat a European side in last four World Cup clashes
  • Switzerland conceded a goal in each of their last three World Cup matches
  • The Swiss lost only one of their last 19 matches across all competitions
  • Costa Rica are coming off from four consecutive defeats

Conclusion

Switzerland are expected to have no real problems against an already-eliminated side. Morale is sky high in the Switzerland camp following a huge, politically-charged win over Serbia and Vladimir Petkovic is likely to instruct his players to use the momentum and go for a win against Costa Rica to finish the group stage on a high note.

Verdict: Switzerland to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: BetVictor

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