• Saturday, September 20, 2014

Switzerland-Ecuador Preview

Can Hitzfeld's men repeat their stunning start of 2010?

Steve von Bergen. Photo: Getty Images
Steve von Bergen. Photo: Getty Images

The Nati beat Spain in the opening fixture four years ago and will have to be on their mettle against Antonio Valencia and Co.

Switzerland started the 2010 World Cup with a surprise win over Spain and they will be looking to get this summer’s tournament off to a similar start.

Stefan Coerts in goal.com writes, national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld doesn’t have any noteworthy injury problems ahead of the match versus Ecuador and has a fit squad to pick his starting XI from.

His main selection headache will be who to pick alongside centre-back Steve von Bergen, with Philippe Senderos, Fabian Schar and Johan Djourou all hoping to get the nod. Schar featured in the friendly against Peru, but Hitzelfd might turn to the more experienced Senderos on today.’s match.

Higher up the pitch, Napoli midfielder Bleri Dzemaili might have to settle for a spot on the bench as Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami are set to start in midfield.

New Bayer Leverkusen signing Josip Drmic seems to be sitting in pole position to start as striker, ahead of Real Sociedad attacker Haris Seferovic.

Ecuador boss Reinaldo Rueda has no such luxuries as he will have to make do without midfielder Segundo Castillo due to injury, with the 32-year-old pulling out of the World Cup earlier this week.

To make matters even worse, Christian Noboa is in danger of missing the match versus Switzerland as well after picking up a knock in the friendly against England, even though Rueda remains hopeful the midfielder will make it in time.

Ecuador’s injury worries in midfield mean that either Edison Mendez, who scored the winner in his country’s first-ever World Cup win in 2002, or promising youngster Carlos Gruez will start against the Swiss.

Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero are expected to start on the wings in Ecuador’s 4-4-2 formation, with Enner Valencia likely to partner star striker Felipe Caicedo.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2014

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