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Hitzfeld: Tough for European teams in Brazil

Football's marquee tournament has been hosted by a South American country on four previous occasions and each time a nation from that region has gone on to win the trophy.

This year's World Cup begins in Brazil on Thursday, with reigning champions Spain and Germany considered among the favourites to challenge from the European contingent.

However, Hitzfeld stated it will be tricky for European nations to go all the way. 

Speaking to , he said: "(It is) very, very difficult (for a European team to win).

"It cannot be a coincidence that a European team couldn't win a World Cup held in South America.

"Not in Uruguay, not in Mexico, not in Argentina and for sure not in Brazil."

With Brazil hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, the pressure to deliver success on home soil has arguably never been higher.

But Hitzfeld feels that Luiz Felipe Scolari's men can cope with the expectation and pointed to Brazil's triumph at last year's FIFA Confederations Cup as an indicator of how well they can do.

He added: "There is always pressure in football.

"The expectations may be a bit more noticeable at a home World Cup. But Brazil has shown at the Confederations Cup a year ago how you deal well with these special conditions."

Switzerland are in Group E alongside Ecuador, France and Honduras, with Hitzfeld targeting a spot in the knockout stages.

"It's a very strong group," he continued.

"But we have had a very good preparation so far. We do have the potential to qualify for the round of the last 16. That is our goal. Then there are no limits."

Switzerland's final group fixture with Honduras marks a repeat of the 2010 group-stage encounter in South Africa that the European side had to win to progress.

A 0-0 draw curtailed their hopes, but Hitzfeld ruled out any suggestions of a revenge mission, stating: "In this game we would have needed a victory with two goals difference.

"In the eyes of many this was a piece of cake, but even Spain had a hard battle and beat Honduras 2-0 only with great difficulty.

"So why should it be a walk in the park for Switzerland to play Honduras and enter the final 16? That's why I would rather not speak of revenge, but the fact that we know that Honduras is a very difficult opponent."