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Old June 24, 2010, 03:58 PM
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al-Sagar al-Sagar is offline
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Default Switzerland v Honduras

Swiss going for goals

After a humiliating home defeat to Luxembourg in qualification, Switzerland are still in with a strong chance of making the second round and dumping pre-tournament favourites Spain or Marcelo Bielsa's impressive Chile side out at the first hurdle.

The Swiss currently sit third in the group, level on three points with Spain but trailing by a goal, and they are two goals and three points behind Chile. However, with Spain and Chile having to take points - and goals - from each other, a 2-0 win will be enough to see Switzerland through.

Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld is one of the great tacticians at this summer's World Cup, but he will need to ensure his players show creativity and guile as well as a clinical touch to ensure they add to their solitary goal to date. Valon Behrami will not be available following his dismissal against Chile, but Tranquillo Barnetta looks likely to return to the side and should be a strong replacement.

Honduras, meanwhile, have a number of players in elite leagues but have done little to defy suggestions they were among the weaker of the 32 teams to have reached the finals. Coach Reinaldo Rueda has signalled that he wants his team to win but also said they must emerge from the finals with dignity. It will be interesting to see whether the need to preserve dignity overtakes the desire for victory if they fall behind early on.

Switzerland player to watch: Diego Benaglio. Honduras are desperate to restore some pride in their final game, so the Swiss can expect more ambition from their opponents in the early stages at least. Wolfsburg goalkeeper Benaglio has been hugely impressive against attack-minded Spain and Chile so far and, if he can keep another clean sheet, Switzerland have a great opportunity to reach the second stage.

Honduras player to watch: David Suazo. This 30-year-old Inter Milan striker has spent over a decade playing in Italy but, since leaving Cagliari in 2007, he has struggled for goals and he spent 2010 on loan at Genoa. Injury problems have hindered his preparations for the tournament and he missed the opener against Chile with a leg problem, but he returned against Spain and, with 84 minutes under his belt in that game, Honduras will be desperate for Suazo to recover some form and give the country something to celebrate.

Key Battle: Eren Derdiyok v Maynor Figueroa. With captain Alexander Frei still struggling for fitness, Derdiyok could lead the line for Switzerland ahead of him and veteran striker Blaise Nkufo. Derdiyok has a very poor goal-scoring record at international level, but the 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen man is strong and stands at 6' 3" and will be a nuisance at the least. Wigan left-back Figueroa, meanwhile, is known for attacking contributions in England but has been playing in the centre for his country, so he will need to stay focused.

Trivia: Honduras squad members David Suazo and Hendry Thomas are cousins.

Stats:
In their previous meeting with a CONCACAF side at the World Cup, Switzerland drew 1-1 draw with USA in the '94 group stage.

Odds: Switzerland (1.50), New Zealand (7.00) and a draw (4.20) are all available at Bet 365. You can get odds of 9.50 on a 3-0 win for Switzerland.

Prediction:
Switzerland are perhaps better at grinding out results than going on the attack, but Honduras have done little so far in South Africa. Goals may prove vital in the final reckoning, so a substantial Swiss win is on the cards.
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