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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Mark June 15, 20147:14 pm

Someone from FIFA (or failing that, Andy Townsend) should get the 32 coaches together and remind them that “its so important not to lose your first game…”

Terry June 15, 20146:56 pm

Switzerland play France next and can do so with confidence. You’d think they need to figure out the right combination in attack from the start. Ecuador offered so much on the first half but you wonder if they settled for the point towards the end of the second. I think they’d earned a draw.

Richard June 15, 20146:54 pm

Probably the result we all expected before the game began but not what we expected as the match progressed.

Richard June 15, 20146:53 pm

And almost as soon as the goal goes in the final whistle is blown.

Game over!

Terry June 15, 20146:52 pm

That’s rough on Ecuador but hat’s off to Hitzfeld for his substitutions.

Richard June 15, 20146:52 pm

Segerovic gets onto a Rodriguez cross deep into injury time.

They probably shaved the second half but Ecuador can feel disappointed to have let that one goal lead slip away.

Richard June 15, 20146:50 pm

Ecuador almost seal it dowm one end before the Swiss break and score down the other.

Behrami gets straight back up from a foul but gets up and keeps going. That’s the difference maker

Terry June 15, 20146:50 pm

Oh my! The Swiss have nicked it.

Terry June 15, 20146:47 pm

Some grated nutmeg would be welcome at this juncture.

Richard June 15, 20146:46 pm

Both team still chasing a late winner with 2 minutes to go (plus injury time).

There just hasn’t be the quality final ball that the strikers are looking for.

Ted June 15, 20146:46 pm

Ottmar Hitzfeld strikes me as the short of man who grates his own nutmeg. I should stress that I can’t see the match, I’m on a train. Which is a shame, I enjoyed the first half. In all its nutmeggy goodness.

Terry June 15, 20146:44 pm

Arroyo’s free kick is from a long way out but it goes through the wall and Benaglio spills the shot. An awkward moment for Switzerland.

Richard June 15, 20146:41 pm

Switzerland getting a lot more of the ball now. Still looking nervous when Ecuador break.

Richard June 15, 20146:34 pm

Rojas on for Montero which is surprising. Rojas is quick though and can play anywhere across the front.

Terry June 15, 20146:33 pm

Drmic is gone which is disappointing. Haris Serferovic replaces him.

Terry June 15, 20146:32 pm

Chances at both ends now. Ecuador nearly nipped in to score between Benaglio and Djourou.

Richard June 15, 20146:29 pm

So it was onside after I’ve seen a clearer replay.

Would have been hard on Ecuador after their attacking dominance.

Richard June 15, 20146:26 pm

Drmic has the ball in the back of the net but its disallowed for offside.

Think that may have come off the defender…

Terry June 15, 20146:26 pm

Drmic puts the ball in the net but was offside. Waiting for the replay on that.

Terry June 15, 20146:23 pm

Benaglio saves from Montero who seems to be making more of an impact in the second half.

Richard June 15, 20146:22 pm

Shakiri isn’t doing enough for the Swiss ‘team’ here. Attempting too much individually and not tracking forwards or backwards when he doesn’t have the ball.

It’s a shame when he has so much potential.

Richard June 15, 20146:19 pm

Just not enough quality from either team. Ecuador are the better of them so far though.

Terry June 15, 20146:17 pm

Of the games so far this is probably the least entertaining but it’s still pretty decent. Ecuador’s wide players are keeping the Swiss full back pretty quiet. Meanwhile, Switzerland are trying to punch a hole through the middle.

Richard June 15, 20146:16 pm

Enner Valencia has worked so hard for the South Americans. His shot just creeping over the crossbar.

Richard June 15, 20146:11 pm

The Swiss just aren’t playing in the space Ecuador leave on the wings.

Richard June 15, 20146:08 pm

That one doesn’t go in though.

I’m not surprised either, those crosses were probably attempts on goal.

Richard June 15, 20146:07 pm

Lichtsteiner has now brought down Montero in the same areas as the Ecuadorians first half goal came from.

Terry June 15, 20146:07 pm

ITV commentator has pointed out that Shaquiri has moved to a central position. Given his wayward crossing in the first half, this is not surprising.

Terry June 15, 20146:05 pm

It was Rodriguez’ corner met by Mehmedi’s head.

Richard June 15, 20146:05 pm

Switzerland right back in it as Mehmedi, the recent substitute, gets a headed goal from an early corner.

Terry June 15, 20146:04 pm

And the sub makes an instant impact as Mehmedi scores. 1-1.

Terry June 15, 20146:03 pm

SC Freiburg’s Admir Mehmedi is on for Stocker.

Mark June 15, 20146:02 pm

Clark Carlisle certainly likes Ecuador. As he says, they must be a good side if Jackson Martinez can’t get in it. Martinez is probably a bit knackered, though, to be fair to him, having played yesterday…for Colombia.

Richard June 15, 20146:00 pm

The teams are back out. Will Ottmar have a trick or two up his sleeves for this second half?

Terry June 15, 20145:47 pm

1-0 at half time. Switzerland need to get their shit together if they want anything from the game. I can see Ecuador scoring another, probably from the right.

Richard June 15, 20145:46 pm

Everytime they come forward Ecuador look like a threat. Suddenly the England performance against them in the warm up looks pretty strong.

Richard June 15, 20145:44 pm

Late penalty shout from Caicedo there but he didn’t make much of it – the crowd did though.

Terry June 15, 20145:44 pm

Ecuador look really dangerous on the attack. Contrast that with Switzerland who can’t seem to get it together despite their possession.

Richard June 15, 20145:39 pm

Switzerland are starting to find their feet here though. Keeping the ball better but not really challenging the Ecuador defence.

Richard June 15, 20145:36 pm

Paredes and Valencia are finding too much space down the right hand side.

Terry June 15, 20145:34 pm

Behrami peels off his marker and heads Shaqiri’s corner straight at the ‘keeper.

Richard June 15, 20145:33 pm

After everything Hitzfeld has done in this career I’d love for this tournament to be a positive final chapter for him. Doesn’t look like I, or he, will get this wish.

Terry June 15, 20145:32 pm

I can only agree with that assessment. They look poorly prepared which is surprising given the experience of their coach.

Richard June 15, 20145:29 pm

They really don’t look as threatening as I thought. The backbone of the squad seems like a strong one but, even as I only have 28 minutes of proof, they don’t look like a gelled side. Behrami and Shakiri are trying to do too much.

Terry June 15, 20145:25 pm

Unlike Switzerland which is very worrying from their point of view.

Richard June 15, 20145:25 pm

Ecuador are great from set pieces.

Terry June 15, 20145:23 pm

Enner Valencia from a free kick. The Swiss defence was er full of holes.

Richard June 15, 20145:22 pm

Ecuador are ahead through Enner Valencia. Great delivery from the left, due to a free kick, and his header increases the pace of the already blistering cross.

Terry June 15, 20145:22 pm

Goal Ecuador!

Terry June 15, 20145:21 pm

Nuremberg would have been relegated earlier without Drmic but yes, he may need help up front. He’s not an obvious number 9.

Terry June 15, 20145:20 pm

Rodriguez long range shot is saved but Switzerland botch the resultant corner.

Richard June 15, 20145:18 pm

I heard he did well considering they got relegated but I’m still not sure whether he will be able to tow the line here himself.

Terry June 15, 20145:18 pm

Eighteen minutes gone and both teams are starting to loosen up a bit.

Terry June 15, 20145:17 pm

Drmic was brilliant for Nuremberg last season. He is quick and can score from anywhere. That being said, he is inexperienced for the national team.

Richard June 15, 20145:16 pm

Shakiri fires a low drive from just outside the box but it goes straight at Dominguez to gather comfortably.

He had 10 starts last season but managed six goals in the process.

Richard June 15, 20145:15 pm

Do the Swiss have a real striker? Josip Drmic has three goals at International level but they have all come at home against weaken opponents (Croatia in March, Jamaica in May)….

He did manage to get a transfer this summer from Nurnberg to Leverkusen though.

Terry June 15, 20145:14 pm

Drmic almost finds room for a shot from a ball from Inler but Guagua, I think denies him. That Ecuador defence does look solid.

Terry June 15, 20145:11 pm

Lichtsteiner hooking up nicely with Stocker down the right but so far the Swiss haven’t found a striker.

Richard June 15, 20145:07 pm

Switzerland have their first attack but their right-back, Lichtsteiner of Juventus, gets under his crosst and the ball sails out of play.

Terry June 15, 20145:05 pm

Ayovi has just chucked a rather casual free kick, easily dealt with by Benaglio. So far it’s all Ecuador.

Richard June 15, 20145:03 pm

Ecuador will look to exploit the Swiss defence using their pace. Both Valencia’s and Calcedo are rapid from a standing start (all three are good in the air too).

Terry June 15, 20145:02 pm

Indeed. Both Valencias are decent. I should correct myself from what I said earlier. Ecuador played England, not Germany. Not sure how I managed to get those two teams confused.

Anyhoo, we’re underway.

Richard June 15, 20144:59 pm

I agree, I think they could do quite well. Switzerland are the obvious favourites to go through this group with France but if anyone is going to trip them up it’ll be Ecuador and not Honduras.

Enner Valencia always impresses.

Terry June 15, 20144:56 pm

I had a look at Ecuador against Germany and I liked the look of them. They’re quite well known for struggling away from the high altitude of the homeland. Montero is pretty tasty, I gather and the team is said to highly motivated following the tragic passing of Christian Benitez almost a year ago.

Terry June 15, 20144:52 pm

Hopefully the Swiss will use this World Cup prove address their national stereotype articulated by Mr Welles in The Third Man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNo8ld7ak8w

Terry June 15, 20144:48 pm

As someone who follows the German Bundesliga very closely I can tell you that Rodriguez, Shaqiri, Xhaka and Drmic are very good players. Rodriguez, in particular was considered to be one of the best, if not the best, full back in the Bundesliga last season. The question is, can Hitzfeld bring the best out of them?

Terry June 15, 20144:44 pm

Good afternoon from Hangoverville. I’m looking forward to this match. Switzerland may have a reputation fro being but there are some top draw players in their team.

Richard June 15, 20144:43 pm

Into day 4 of the World Cup now and there have been several surprises along the way. An obvious statement but both team will be looking for a win in this fixture.

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld doesn’t have any noteworthy injury problems ahead of this match and will be looking to go out with a bang following his retirement announcement earlier this year. Meanwhile Ecuador boss Reinaldo Rueda has no such luxuries as he will have to make do without midfielder Segundo Castillo who pulled out of the tournament earlier this week. To make matters worse, Christian Noboa is in danger of missing the match as well after picking up a knock in the friendly against England, although Rueda remains hopeful the midfielder will make it.

It’s been a tremendous few days of football, long my it continue.