The co-leaders of Group H will do battle on June 21st in Port Elizabeth when an exciting Chilean squad will battle the surprising Swiss. Everybody in the soccer world is aware of the magnitude of the Swiss feat when they miraculously defeated tournament favorites Spain in their opening fixture. They will be anxious to build on such a promising result, and look to obtain another one in hopes of advancing to the round of 16.
The offensively gifted Chilean team also began their 2010 World Cup with an impressive victory, defeating Honduras 1-0. Although they only won by one goal, the score isn’t fully indicative of what was a dominating performance from Chile. They were exciting and dangerous throughout the full 90 minutes, and did nothing to dispel the notion that they could be the surprises of this year’s tournament. Chile will look for that to continue against an equally strong Switzerland side.
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Chile vs Switzerland Odds:
Keys to the Game:
Chile will be buoyed by the return of their star striker, and overall best player Humberto Suazo to the lineup. He had previously been hampered by a left thigh injury, and was unavailable for his team’s opening win against Honduras. Having Suazo back into the Chilean squad will present many options on the attack, as both he and Alexis Sanchez are bound to give the Swiss defenders fits for the majority of the match. Chile was also worried about the fitness of attacking midfielder Jordge Valdivia. Like his teammates Suazo and Sanchez, Valdivia is an integral part of the Chilean offensive game, and his absence would be sorely missed. Currently he’s battling a small tear in his right leg, and he is training away from the other members of the squad. His wife has expressed that he will be unavailable for the Swiss fixture, yet the team has refuted these claims.
Coach Marcelo Bielsa praised his side for their attacking flair in their opening match, and expects more of the same with a more potent attack available against Switzerland. The players are also aware of the great opportunity that exists to win the group in wake of Spain’s shocking defeat. For Chile, it represents a tantalizing route as it would likely avoid a second-round clash with a Brazilian squad they’ve had difficulty beating of late.
Within the Switzerland camp the players are simply trying to remain grounded following a heroic victory over the perennial powerhouses from Spain. In a World Cup campaign already comprised of excitement for the Swiss, they’ll look to obtain another lofty goal in their second match against Chile. Switzerland will be in search of a World Cup record when they take to the pitch in Port Elizabeth. The Swiss national team hasn’t given up a goal in 484 minutes during World Cup matches, and if they can keep Chile off the board for at least 67 minutes, they will surpass the previous mark of 550 minutes set by Italy. Although the powerful Chilean offense will surely make the Swiss work for this record, the fact that they’ve come this far isn’t all that surprising. The Swiss are renowned for their staunch defensive tactics, but do possess a startling inability to score goals. Even their lone tally against Spain was generated off of a serious of blunders at the back from the Spanish defenders. They have trouble generating offensive chances, and against a Chilean side that is bound to pressure their defense, Switzerland will have to get chances of their own to level the playing field.
Heading into this clash, the majority of the focus is placed on the surprising Swiss. Their coach however, Ottmar Hitzfeld stresses that Chile should be in the spotlight, as they are the clear favorites in this match. Although the man referred to as the ‘General’ is simply downplaying expectations, the Swiss side may become the favorites by game-time with influential players Alexander Frei and Valon Behrmi expected to return to the lineup. Frei is the squad’s captain and can be counted on to provide a legitimate goal scoring threat up front. These inclusions to the lineup however, are negated by the loss of key defender Phillipe Senderos, as his right-ankle injury will keep him out until the second round. A key blow for a Swiss defense that will need their best performance to keep the Chilean offense grounded.
What to Expect:
This game has all the makings of a great clash. Both teams head into this all-important fixture fresh off impressive performances, and will look to punch their tickets into the round of 16. It will pit an explosive offense against an impenetrable defense, and key returning players should only add to the excitement. Chile and Switzerland will play to a tight game, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Swiss obtain their coveted defensive record. Chile is too lethal on the attack, and the inclusion of Humberto Suazo will be crucial for Chile’s chances. Sure Switzerland was impressive in beating a lackluster Spanish side to commence their tournament, but as the old saying goes, “lightning doesn’t strike twice.”
Chile vs Switzerland Prediction: Chile 2 – Switzerland 1
From a betting perspective it would be wise to take a look at the totals for this match. Currently the over 2 goals is paying at +105, incredible value for a Chile side that has the ability to snag two goals in any given half.
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