Switzerland vs. France – World Cup Match Preview – 1 PM EST Friday June 19, 2014 Arena Fonte Nova Salvador, Brazil
By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Switzerland 4.70 / France 1.80 / Draw 3.80
Moneyline: Switzerland +375 / France -125 / Draw +280
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
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Switzerland and France each won their group opener and the winner of this match will be in great shape to advance to the round of 16. France had no problems in their 3-0 win over Honduras and that was a big win after the squad’s disastrous 2010 World Cup showing.
While France had a pretty easy win in their opener the same cannot be said for Switzerland. It looked as if their match with Ecuador would end in a 1-1 draw, but substitute Haris Seferovic scored to give the Swiss the 2-1 lead with only 23 seconds remaining in injury time.
France is the big betting favorite in this match, but they will be facing a Swiss side that is a dark horse this World Cup, has a great midfield, and a solid back line defense.
Karim Benzema scored two goals for France in the opener and the squad got an own-goal as well. They were in control for most of the match dealing with Honduras side that was only playing with 10 men after a red-card send off.
These teams are no strangers, as they have faced each other 36 times with France with 15 wins, the Swiss with 12, and 9 draws.
France could have scored several more goals in the Honduras match, but facing the Swiss defense they will likely not have as many shots on goal.
Xherdan Shaqiri and team captain Gokhan Inler are the 2 key players for the Swiss and while each is a solid play that can create scoring chances and score as well each did not play well in the Ecuador match.
The Swiss have a good defense, but they were broken down several times by Ecuador that does not have nearly the talent on the attack that France does. In European World Cup qualifying Switzerland had 7 clean sheets in 10 matches, but if they play defense against France like they did Ecuador they will not get a clean sheet and will also not get 3 points.
Inler, Granit Xhaka, and Valon Behrami must play well in the midfield for the Swiss both on offense spurning the attack and dropping back on defense.
The French will be attacking from the opening whistle and their defense has to be careful from the Swiss counter-attack. That may be Switzerland’s bets chance to score, as they have a great squad, but not a dynamic attack.
The French totally dominated the time of possession in the Honduras match (63% to 37%) and they cannot count on that happening again. They will need good ball movement and the more they control the pace in the midfield the more scoring chances they will get, which will put a ton of pressure on the Swiss defense.
France G Hugo Loris had a clean sheet in the opener, but he will get one in this match.
Switzerland Recent Form
11/15/2013 Korea Republic 2 Switzerland 1 (Friendly)
3/5/2014 Switzerland 2 Croatia 2 (Friendly)
5/30/2014 Switzerland 1 Jamaica 0 (Friendly)
6/3/2014 Switzerland 2 Peru 0 (Friendly)
6/15/2014 Switzerland 2 Ecuador 1 (World Cup)
France Recent Form
3/5/2014 France 2 Netherlands 0 (Friendly)
5/27/2014 France 4 Norway 0 (Friendly)
6/1/2014 France 1 Paraguay 1 (Friendly)
6/8/2014 France 8 Jamaica 0 (Friendly)
6/15/2014 France 3 Honduras 0 (World Cup)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: This one is a tough call, which Swiss team will show up? The one that has a great defense and ranked 6th in the world or the one that was very lucky to come away with their opening match with a win? I have to go with the latter. Switzerland will play a much better match in this one, but the French have the momentum and they will play solid as well. I would like to pick the draw in this one, but something tells me France will get the head up and win by a single goal. The best bookmaker for Euro Punters: Bet365.