Switzerland will hope that France can do them a favour on Wednesday evening, by beating Ecuador, fellow contenders for a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup, as long as they can do the business themselves against Honduras in Manaus.
Honduras are out of the World Cup after two defeats in their opening matches, a predicament many pundits had suggested before the World Cup. Their first game against France was more of a battle for which player could foul the opposition the most, with Wilson Palacios taking that award. Honduras managed their first goal against Ecuador but in fairness Ecuador could and probably should have scored more.
Switzerland, however, just managed to register three points against Ecuador in their first game, thanks to Admir Mehmedi and Haris Seferovic. Losing 5-2 against France suggests that France totally outplayed and out-battled the Swiss side, but in fact, three of the five goals could have been prevented in Ottmar Hitzfeld, a manager usually known for his cautious tactical style, reverted back to man marking, as he kept three players back at set-plays and needed his side more alert after they conceded the first goal, eventually conceding a second straight from the kick-off – although the blame should lay at the feet of Valon Behrami – the midfielder has averaged a 6.04 rating for Switzerland this World Cup, a justification for Hitzfeld to replace Behrami for Dzemaili.
In just two games, Honduras have racked up six cards; 14.5 fouls per game.
Hull City’s Maynor Figueroa has averaged a WhoScored.com rating of 6.97 for Honduras so far this World Cup, the highest for any Honduras player.
Switzerland, however, have four players who average above a WhoScored.com rating over 7.0 – Ricardo Rodriguez (8.04), Diego Benaglio (7.63), Blerim Dzemaili (7.22) and Admir Mehmedi (7.12).
Ricardo Rodriguez has assisted two of Switzerland’s four World Cup goals.
Honduras and Switzerland have met once before, a 0-0 draw in the 2010 World Cup.
Key Players: Honduras’ Carlo Costly and Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez
Honduras’ Carlo Costly and the rest of his team-mates seemed ecstatic when they went 1-0 up against Ecuador on Friday night, and with reason – that was their first World Cup goal in 32 years.
The hard-running forward spoke to FIFA.com after he ended his country’s run of 511 goalless World Cup minutes, just six before they would have moved level with Bolivia’s unwanted record of 517. Prior to Costly, the last man to score for Honduras at the global showpiece was Eduardo Laing, who netted against Northern Ireland on 21 June 1982 in Spain.
“I was so happy when I scored that goal, because 32 years is a long time and a difficult barrier to overcome,” said Costly.
He will hope that he can extend his record in the World Cup, with Switzerland conceding six goals in two games, although five of those six were against France, their defence are exposed down the flanks with Stephen Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez regularly providing the width for Switzerland.
Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez has been one of the standout performers for Switzerland in this years World Cup, with a WhoScored.com rating of 8.04 – and has set up two of the four goals Switzerland have scored, with the two assists coming in their 2-1 win against Ecuador. Defensively, he has attempted 5.5 tackles per game, but his attacking prowess is his key characteristic, which has alerted clubs throughout Europe for his availability.
Predicted score and line-up: Honduras 0-2 Switzerland