Skip to main content

The FourFourTwo Preview: Switzerland vs France

Didier Deschamps' men overcame a rugged Honduras side in their opener on Sunday thanks to a Noel Valladares own-goal and Karim Benzema's brace. 

However, the French will likely have been just as relieved to come out of the fixture unscathed against opponents who were not afraid to put in a host of strong challenges - an approach that contributed to Wilson Palacios' dismissal.

With the prospect of all but securing progression from Group E with a win against the Swiss on Friday, France look set to encounter a much sterner footballing test at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. 

While Switzerland were frustrated for large spells in their opening game win over Ecuador, they secured three points thanks to Haris Seferovic's stoppage-time winner.

Progression for France would go some way to making up for their below-par campaigns in recent tournaments and Patrice Evra, skipper at the disastrous 2010 World Cup, feels a renewed togetherness in the camp is a major plus point. 

"You need everyone in the World Cup, you cannot give up because you're not starting a game," he said this week.

"We do not have a problem with egos in this team.

"Nothing's ever certain with Deschamps. That's why I like to work with him.

"He'll look you in the eyes and say, 'Pat, if you mess up I won't spare you'. I know that if I step out of line I'm out of this team.

"I have faith in this squad and that's a great strength. The star isn't one player, it’s the team."

Making the knockout stages would represent an impressive achievement for Switzerland too - proving the progress made since the early days of the Ottmar Hitzfeld reign. 

Having failed to qualify for UEFA Euro 2012, they qualified unbeaten for Brazil and have not lost a competitive fixture since a 2-0 reverse to Wales in October 2011. 

However, the likes of Josip Drmic and Xherdan Shaqiri will likely need to offer more against the French, with Hitzfeld expecting his forward line to face a stern test. 

"The team is relatively strong in defence but offensively, we are weaker than France," L'Aisne Nouvelle quotes him as saying. 

"We have less attacking quality, we'll have to hold our play as Switzerland is a team in the making.

"Our selection includes many young players who were Under-17 world champions in 2010."

Neither side have any fresh injury concerns, with Yohan Cabaye expected to recover from a groin problem in time to play.