After Colombia made quick work of an overmatched Greece squad on Saturday, we are now 2-1 with our World Cup selections at The Sports Geek. Our bonus selection on Colombia winning to nil also came through, and we’ll hope for the same success on Day 4 of the competition.
Today, we move on to an intriguing match-up to start the day’s festivities between two much-improved sides of late, Switzerland and Ecuador. Both teams were considered semi-longshots to get to Brazil back when qualifying commenced, but their recent form suggests both squads definitely belong. In Group E, it appears as if France are the overall favourites to win, but Switzerland and Ecuador will engage in a tough battle for the second position, making today’s match-up absolutely crucial.
The Swiss enter the tournament currently ranked 6th in the entire world – with only one loss in 18 matches over the past two years. This is a blossoming team with a wealth of exciting, young players. Whether or not they’ll be ready for the heat of Brazil and football’s grandest stage remains to be seen, but the Swiss should not be taken lightly. Switzerland easily defeated Jamaica and Peru in qualifying and look primed to advance from Group E.
Ecuador meanwhile are ranked 26th in the world, but have some big deficiencies in their defense. Though they played well in a pre-tournament game against England, they had some glaring holes at the back and those will need to be shored up if they’re to be competitive in this competition. Qualification was difficult for the Ecuadorians, as their top striker Christian Benitez died suddenly of heart failure. As a result, they stuttered to the finish line in netting just one win from their final six matches. While the conditions of Brazil play to their favour, the quality of this team still raises many questions.
Switzerland vs. Ecuador Betting Odds:
Switzerland (+135) / Draw (+230) / Ecuador (+210)
Over 2 (-135) / Under 2 (+115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Switzerland vs. Ecuador Pick:
Upon first glance, you’re getting quite the generous price on the most likely result – a Swiss victory. Switzerland enters as the more cohesive, in-form group, and they possess a quality team at all areas of the pitch. This is a youthful squad, but ultimately one that has very few weaknesses, unlike their opponents. The only thing that could be a hindrance for Switzerland will be the unfamiliar conditions of Brazil’s heat and humidity. While we’ve heard much about the sweltering conditions, it hasn’t appeared to be too much of a facor just yet with these European sides, and hopefully the Swiss can avoid the trap as well.
However, maybe there’s no need to worry for the Swiss. Their opponents from Ecuador were excellent in their own country, but away from the friendly confines, Ecuador was awful during qualification. They didn’t win any of their eight matches on the road, and they’ve continued to struggle in opposing countries in the lead-up to this tournament.
Ecuador suffered a huge blow last week as key central midfielder Christian Noboa was ruled out for this match. Noboa is a commanding presence for Ecuador and controls their play and movement from the middle. Without him, Ecuador will be weak and overrun in the middle of the pitch. The defensive structure of this team is highly questionable, and the creativity and flair of Switzerland will be a real mismatch. While Ecuador seems content to play open football and trade chances with their opponents, they don’t possess enough quality to do that with Switzerland.
The Swiss are a young, energetic, and hungry squad looking for success to usher in the next generation. They’re well-organized at the back, and up front they should have their way with the back-line of Ecuador. Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Josip Drmic represent a nice triumvirate of playmaking and scoring ability, and expect a big game from those three players. Ultimately, Switzerland will overcome the heat and emerge with a comfortable victory.
PICK = Switzerland (+135)