Ottmar Hitzfeld confident Swiss will deliver
German boss believes his side will beat Honduras to advance to knock-out stage
Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, trying to repair his team’s spirit after their 5-2 thumping against France in the previous game, dismissed questions about the parallels with four years ago.
Just as in 2010, the two sides are meeting in their final group game. Four years ago a Swiss win by a two-goal margin would have taken them into the second round.
Hitzfeld said it was no use making comparisons “because we are going to win. It’s as simple as that. The team today has more offensive potential”.
The group is tight and the Swiss could qualify with a draw if the French beat Ecuador. They last made it out of the group stage in 2006, but lost in the second round to Ukraine.
Switzerland went into the France game in good spirits after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ecuador in their first match, but then imploded after conceding two goals in a minute.
The German coach’s main decision will be what to do about his central defence, which had a torrid time against France after Steve von Bergen came off in the ninth minute with a broken bone in his face. He has returned home.
Philippe Senderos came on for von Bergen but did not have a good game and Hitzfeld could turn instead to youngster Fabian Schaer. Another challenge for the Swiss will be the tough conditions in Manaus, which is in the Amazon jungle.
The game kicks off at 4pm local time when the temperature is likely to be at least 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).
For Honduras, only a big win (and a France win over Ecuador) will do if they are to have any chance of reaching the second round.