NEWS
Sunday June 15 2014
Line-ups: Switzerland-Ecuador

Switzerland begin their World Cup campaign against Ecuador with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler.

The Group E tie begins at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT) at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.

Switzerland were surprise seeds in the draw for this tournament, edging out Italy, so have perhaps the easiest group.

Nonetheless, it’s by no means guaranteed that they will progress with France and expected whipping boys Honduras in the mix, so it is very important to win this match.

This is the first time these two nations have faced off in a competitive encounter.

Swiss Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will be replaced by ex-Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic after this tournament.

He has tried to fix the ugly spat between Napoli and Switzerland teammates Behrami and Inler, who publicly criticised each other in recent months.

They start together in Brasilia and help create a solid squad that it is difficult to score against, conceding just one goal in the last seven World Cup games, but this team does lack something in terms of creativity.

The only exception is Bayern Munich’s exciting 22-year-old Xherdan Shaqiri.

Meanwhile, Juventus full-back Lichtsteiner – nicknamed the Swiss Express by Serie A fans – provides pace.

Ecuador have had a poor run-in to the competition and will be aiming to raise their game for the big occasion.

Segundo Castillo had to drop out of the World Cup with a knee injury on Monday and of course the team is still in mourning for striker Christian Benitez, who died from heart failure last year.

Dynamo Moscow midfielder Cristhian Noboa was a doubt due to the knock he received in training, but is passed fit to start.

Antonio Valencia is the star name, the Manchester United winger repeatedly linked with a move to Juventus.

Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Von Bergen, Djourou, Rodriguez; Inler, Behrami; Shaqiri, Xhaka, Stocker; Drmic

Ecuador: Dominguez; Paredes, Guagua, Erazo, W Ayovi; A Valencia, Gruezo, Noboa, Montero; Caicedo, E Valencia

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