2014 WORLD CUP SOCCER
Kickoff: Friday, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Fonte Nova – Salvador, Brazil
France -140, Switzerland +375, Tie +270
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over -109, Under -120)
Two clubs trying to build on opening-match wins in the World Cup collide on Friday afternoon when France expects to roll past underdog Switzerland.
France had little problem with Honduras to begin their World Cup quest, winning easily by a 3-0 score, while Switzerland needed a goal in the 93rd minute to edge Ecuador 2-1. These two countries are very familiar with one another having played 36 times, with France holding the slight 15-12-9 advantage. But the last meeting came back in June 2006, when they played to a 0-0 tie in the World Cup, and the two previous meetings in 2005 also resulted in ties (1-1 and 0-0). The Swiss have not beaten France since 1992 when they prevailed 2-1 in a friendly.
Switzerland led Ecuador only for those final minutes of extra time after Haris Seferovic scored on a header from a cross by Ricardo Rodriguez, but was still the better team for most of the contest. Admir Mehmedi scored the equalizer, also from a Rodriguez assist just three minutes into the second half which set up the late-game heroics. For the match, the Swiss took 18 shots, with 12 of those on goal, compared to only 10 shots (6 on goal) for Ecuador. Switzerland also held the ball 56% of the time and produced eight corner kicks, compared to five for their opponent. The Swiss showed great resilience coming back from an early 1-0 deficit when Enner Valencia scored at the 22-minute mark. That was only the second goal Switzerland has allowed in its past eight World Cup matches. The Swiss are a very quick team that likes to play at a fast pace, and scoring first will be vital to topping France on Friday.
France rolled to a 3-0 victory in their first World Cup match, but all three goals were scored after Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios picked up a red card at the 43rd minute. Les Blues got one tally on Karim Benzema's penalty kick from Palacios' foul and got another score off an own goal before Benzema struck again in the 72nd minute to put the contest out of reach. Playing 11-on-10 for more than half the match, France dominated the statistics, outshooting Honduras 20-4, including 10-2 on shots on goal. Les Blues also held a 63% possession advantage and produced eight corner kicks while not allowing one corner for Honduras. But France wasn't very disciplined, evidenced by 13 fouls and three yellow cards, all in the first half by Patrice Evra, Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye. This trio needs to be careful not to get a yellow card on Friday, which would keep them out of the final group-stage match.