Reigning European champions Spain will look to get their World Cup competition started off on the right foot as they battle Switzerland on June 16th in Group H action. The Spaniards realize they were dealt with a gift of a group in being matched up with Chile, Honduras, and their first opponent Switzerland. Although they head into competition as the odds-on favorite to lift the trophy on July 11th, the Spanish side has appeared reluctant to embrace this role and it will be interesting to see if any early jitters diminish Spain’s chances of winning their first ever World Cup.
Spain vs Switzerland Odds for World Cup Match:
Over 2.5 (-115)
Under 2.5 (+100)
Spain enters opening match not too focused on their Swiss opponents, but instead more worried about the official 2010 World Cup game ball. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas has complained about the ball’s movements and even compared it to a “beach-ball.” That being said, even if this Spanish side was playing with a beach-ball, they would still be the best team in South Africa. Loaded with world-class talent from the net out, the Spanish will eagerly seek to rid themselves of their label as underachievers on soccer’s biggest stage. They head into action on an absolute roll, winning all ten of their qualification games, while only conceding five goals. Their lineup virtually possesses no weaknesses with an all-star cast throughout, which helps to explain how this side has only lost one match since November of 2006.
Spain will utilize their exciting 4-1-2-1-2 formation, which is contingent upon their incredible strength in the midfield. Their core four of Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, and Cesc Fabregas are all among the best in the world at their respective positions. They possess unbelievable control and will look to feed the ball to their lethal finishers in Euro 2008 Golden Boot winner David Villa, and Liverpool star Fernando Torres. Their defenders are integral in maintaining pressure on the opponent, which will surely give the Swiss players fits all game. The Spanish are always pushing, and obsessed with scoring goals. This side finally has the depth and talent to win it all, and will be focused on discarding Switzerland in a convincing manner to kick off their World Cup bid.
The Swiss are aware of the large mismatch in this game, yet still have aspirations of their own. They will likely battle with Chile and Honduras in Group H to determine who advances into the second round. Any sort of favorable result in the opener against Spain would surely send the country into a euphoric state, and more than make up for their disappointing showing on home soil in Euro 2008. Like Spain, the Swiss also were victors of their qualifying group and are a team brimming with confidence and exuberant youth.
Their head coach, Ottmar Hitzemeld, simply known as The General, is a two-time FIFA Coach of the Year, and will look to bring his experience to an up and coming Swiss lineup. With Hitzefeld at the helm, Switzerland will exude a wealth of discipline and grit in their game, and have a sense of pride to their performances that will be tough to match for their opponents. The strength of the Swiss, is not their cheese or chocolate, this time it is their midfield. The four in the middle are all 25 or under and will be imperative to the Swiss chances of advancing to the second round. Their leader in the middle, Tranquillo Barnetta possesses blistering pace and should worry the Spaniards. Expect the Swiss to play tactically smart football with an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. Their finishing leaves something to be desired and is a clear weakness to the side. Yet the recent successes of 6’3” striker Blaise Nkufo, and the experienced captain Alexander Frei give a slight glimmer of hope to the underdog Swiss.
Look for this match to be all about Spain. Heading into action, they are the best team in the tournament, a truly world-class lineup devoid of any worries or concerns. If they stick to playing their game and rid themselves of concerns about a poor match ball, this game should be over by halftime. Swiss star Roger Federer likes to think his nation has a chance at pulling off the upset against Spain, yet he should likely stick to tennis over making soccer predictions, because the Swiss will be in for a long afternoon.
Spain vs Switzerland Match Prediction: Spain 3 – Switzerland 0
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