Swiss giant-killers keen for French test
Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner - the starting full-backs in Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Sunday - argued their team have the quality to hurt France in their second Group E fixture in Salvador.
Since Ottmar Hitzfeld led Switzerland to a 1-0 triumph over Spain in their opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Swiss have developed a reputation for reserving their top performances for when they face the very top teams.
While Switzerland have drawn 4-4 with Iceland at home, lost 2-0 to Wales and managed just a scoreless draw away to Malta in the past four years, they have also defeated Germany 5-3 and stunned Brazil 1-0.
Rodriguez said Hitzfeld's side find another gear when they play world football's traditional powerhouses.
"They have an outstanding team with very strong players but I think we have a chance," the Wolfsburg defender said on Tuesday.
"Usually we play quite well against strong opponents. I hope that we can play like we did in the second half against Ecuador. And still we can all improve ourselves.
"Obviously it's not going to be easy against France but I am excited to play against them. But we know it's going to be really tough."
Rodriguez set up Switzerland's two goals in their victory over Ecuador with Admir Mehmedi heading one of the 21-year-old's corners into the net, before Haris Seferovic scored the winner in second-half stoppage time.
The win took Switzerland alongside France on three points at the top of the Group E standings.
"Our team is in great shape," Rodriguez said.
"We have a great spirit, everybody wants to win, everybody has fun; and we are all ready for the next match."
Lichtsteiner, who started at right-back against Ecuador, agreed the match against France will be tough for Switzerland but argued the French would also need to work hard.
"It will be a difficult game against a hard team with players that won't be easy to play against but it is the same for France," the Juventus man said.