2014 FIFA World Cup Live Streaming Info: France vs. Switzerland Preview
By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | June 20, 2014 6:33 PM EST
These two European teams figure in a crucial match that will determine positioning in the upcoming rounds.
A win for either of the two teams will most likely assure the victor to advance in the knockout stages of the tournament and come out atop Group E, and as a reward possibly avoid an early match-up with one of the early tournament favorites, Argentina.
France's Karim Benzema kicks the ball during a training session at the Arena Fonte Nova stadium ahead of their 2014 World Cup against Switzerland in Salvador, June 19, 2014.
France cruised to their opening match winning handily against Honduras, 3-0. The French did not find much challenges in their first game, and surprisingly helped in the later stages by a questionable challenge by Wilson Palacios that gave France a penalty kick and a red card for Palacios. Karim Benzema capitalized on the penalty by scoring a brace and all but assuring France's win.
Switzerland won on a last minute header from Haris Seferovic from a cross from Ricardo Rodriguez in the 93rd minute of the match. The game winner resulted from a counter-attack that utilized Rodriguez's speed which he used to assist on both of Switzerland's goals against Ecuador.
The French and Swiss are both acquainted with their playing styles and defensive schemes, having met 36 times. The statistics are very close, with France coming out 15 times to Switzerland's 12 wins, and nine matches finished in draws.
While France has been unbeaten in their last five outings against Switzerland, Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld can utilize a fully healthy squad and can feature the likes of Admir Mehmedi who scored the other goal after substituting in the second half.
With their last three head to heads all ending in a draw, assistant coach Michel Pont asserts that their team will look to attack from the get-go.
"It is extremely difficult to find weak points in the France team," he told the Tribune de Geneve."They are very well-organised, compact and work hard for each other. We have to create weak points and jump on every opportunity. Putting 10 men back and waiting to see what happens is not the answer, we have to challenge them in the game."
France also has a fully fit squad including Yohan Cabaye despite missing a training session ealier in the week. While the 2010 campaign was disastrous for rhe French, Patrice Elva believes their vigor and sipirt are renewed this time around. He believes that France coach Didier Deschamps' ruthless style will yield good results for the team this time around and align their players into their proper roles.
"You need everyone in the World Cup, you cannot give up because you're not starting a game," he said. "We do not have a problem with egos in this team. I have faith in this squad, and that's a great strength. The star isn't one player, it's the team."
With the impressive outing of France against Honduras in the opening salvo, there is no doubt that they are the favored team but with the perseverance of Switzerland, it may just find weak points in France's defense. Nevertheless, expect France to dominate and come out on top of this highly contested match.
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