Spain vs. Switzerland Durban Stadium, Durban South Africa 10 AM EST Wednesday June 16. 2010
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Spain 1.30 / Switzerland 9.50 / Draw 5.50
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Spain -400 / Switzerland +1150 / Draw +400
In the opening Group H match for each team heavily favored Spain faces Switzerland. Spain not only has to the best odds to win Group H, but they also have the best odds to win the World Cup.
The best showing at the World Cup was a 4th place finish and that was way back in 1950. With the squad they have this time around it would be a major disappointment if they did not improve upon that 4th place finish. Spain used to be seen as a team that could not win the big one, but that all changed when they won the 2008 European Championships.
The Swiss won their weak European qualifying group, but getting out of Group H and beating Spain will be far from easy. They have several solid players that play at some big European clubs and they play a great team game.
There was a little concern for Spain after their high scoring offense only mustered one goal in their 2nd to last tune-up match against an inferior South Korean squad. However, they came back in their last match against Poland and scored 6 goals. Overall, Spain won all 3 of their World Cup tune-up matches.
The Swiss only played 2 friendly matches before the World cup and lost one and drew the other, but they took some confidence from that draw, as it was against World Cup champion Italy.
Switzerland will have to play good defense to have any chance of beating Spain, as the Spanish have one of the best offenses in the world.
Spain is a great passing team that plays a very fluid game, but they tend to struggle against teams that play them very physically. Luckily for them Switzerland is not a very tough squad, but may have to be that to win this match.
Spain Recent Form:
6/8/2010 Spain 6 Poland 0 (Friendly)
6/3/2010 Spain 1 South Korea 0 (Friendly)
5/29/2010 Spain 3 Saudi Arabia 2 (Friendly)
Switzerland Recent Form:
6/5/2010 Switzerland 1 Italy 1 (Friendly)
6/1/2010 Switzerland 0 Costa Rica 1 (Friendly)
3/3/2010 Switzerland 1 Uruguay (Friendly)
Fernando Torres is coming off a knee surgery, but he should be 100% in this match, which is not a good thing for the Swiss.
David Villa and Torres lead Spain up front and the Swiss will have to key on this duo or they will be in big trouble. Even though they will be focused on at least one of these guys will score in this match.
Spain should control the midfield in this match with the MF’s of Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas. These guys are solid at helping Spain win the time of possession battle and pushing forward to pressure the opposing defense.
Alexander Frei is the leading goal-scorer for Switzerland and their big gun up front. He will have to play well to have any chance to win this match. However, Spain will control the ball the whole match and he will not get the chances to score and will not do so in this match.
Swiss G Diego Benaglio is a solid keeper that plays for VFL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, but even if he has a stellar match he will not be able to keep a clean sheet with all the offensive firepower that Spain has.
Even though Spain’s offense gets all the press they have a legit defense as well led by G Iker Casillas of Real Madrid. He is an unspectacular goalie, but he gets the job done and is one of the best young keepers in the world. He will play well and keep a clean sheet for Spain, as the Swiss will be held scoreless in this match.
Jason’s Pick: The Swiss have a chance to come in 2nd in a far from strong Group H, but they have no chance to win this match. Spain has a lot to prove in South Africa this summer and they will get off a good start by beating Switzerland in this match by a score of 2-0 or 3-0 if not more.