Switzerland are one of the returning teams who also played in the 1950 finals. In fact, this will be their ninth World Cup appearance, and their third in succession. Outstanding during qualification, finishing their group undefeated, the Swiss are more than capable of hitting the ground running. They are currently ranked eighth in the FIFA rankings and many expect them to progress from this groups stage. In the build up to this tournament they grabbed victories against Peru and Jamaica without conceding a goal. Their coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will be retiring after these finals but has had a pretty impressive career outside on international football too – winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich. Their main focus will come through Xherdan Shaqiri who always performs on the internation stage. Despite his domestic issues, where he has only start 20 games in two seasons he is still a key performer for the Swiss and clubs worldwide will be expecting to see big things from him in Brazil.
Ecuador meanwhile didn’t play the best football they could during their ‘warm-up’ period. Losing to Mexico certainly knocked their spirits but draws against the Netherland and England show that they can grab results when they play as a team. Back in 2006 the team managed to make their way into the last 16 but subsequently failed to qualify for the 2010 finals, and they made qualification tough for themselves this time around too. They only just managed to get into the top four, to seal an automatic qualifying place in Brazil, ahead of Uruguay on goal difference. In fact it was Ecuador’s win over that same team in their penultimate game proved crucial.
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