Side with Swiss

  • By: Matt Brocklebank
  • Last Updated: June 25 2014, 20:54 BST

Matt Brocklebank is backing Switzerland in their World Cup Group E clash against Honduras tonight.

Switzerland: Can pick up victory
Switzerland: Can pick up victory

Check out our match-by-match verdict.

Honduras v Switzerland (Group E, Manaus, 2100 BST)

Any football match in which there is a possibility one side's goalkeeper could at some stage be seen trying to get on the end of a corner in the opposition penalty area must be approached with caution by punters.

Both of these teams can still qualify for the round of 16, depending on what goes on between Ecuador and France, but I fully expect the French to complete the job in style, which would mean Switzerland only require a draw.

However, if Ecuador look like getting something out of their match, then the Swiss will need to push for a win and Honduras certainly aren't going to make it easy for them.

Luis Fernando Suarez, former Ecuador manager and current head coach of Honduras, will have taken plenty of positives from their 2-1 defeat to his old side on Friday, not least the fact they were able to keep all 11 men on the field.

Wilson Palacios will come back into the team after serving his one-match ban for being sent off against France and it's not hard to envisage the World Cup minnows frustrating Switzerland from the outset.

Priced up at 8/1 to claim all three points, it must not be forgotten that Honduras were just seconds away from holding France 0-0 at half-time, while they went into the break at 1-1 with Ecuador having given as good as they got.

Switzerland have, thus far, shown signs of naivety, finding themselves a goal behind after half an hour in each of their first two matches.

What will have encouraged manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, however, is the way his team have finished games as they dug deep to get the result against Ecuador and scored twice in the last 10 minutes of the France game, albeit when Didier Deschamps' outfit had slipped into cruise control.

As touched upon in the opening paragraph, stakes must be kept low in games which could end up being frantic, but Switzerland are slow starters and are facing a defensively-minded unit so I'd be very surprised if they had the game sewn up at an early stage.

Prices around 12/5 against 0-0 at half-time are tempting but the Swiss have enough quality to ultimately stamp their authority on the tie so odds around 3/1 for them to claim all three points after drawing at the break are preferred.

Verdict: Honduras 0 Switzerland 2 (MB)

Best bet (with Sky Bet): Draw/Switzerland in HT/FT market at 3/1

Ecuador v France (Group E, Rio de Janeiro, 2100 BST)

There's a decent case to be made for France being the most impressive team we've seen at these World Cup finals so far.

Didier Deschamps' new-look side didn't set the world alight in the first half-hour in their opening game against Honduras but there was a strong sense that they firmly had matters in hand before Karim Benzema's penalty just before the break put them in complete control.

Often slow starters under Deschamps in the past, Les Bleus laid that criticism to rest with a blistering opening 20 minutes against Switzerland and although a defensive wobble saw the Swiss restore some pride late on, France have done very little wrong in their two games.

They have all but qualified for the last 16 and only need a draw here to confirm top spot in Group E.

Odds of 5/6 to claim maximum points against a fairly limited Ecuador side look about right and it's no surprise to see France/France being heavily supported in the half-time/full-time market.

Benzema is the standout option to open the scoring and tops the betting at 4/1 but what was obvious in the Switzerland game, when there were five different scorers, was that this is no one-man team in an attacking sense.

Benzema now has three goals in the tournament and will be keen to kick on for the top-scorer gong, but if you want the Real Madrid striker on side then the safer option may be to back him at a shade of odds-against in the anytime market.

Ecuador's three goals have all been scored by Enner Valencia and he can be supported at 3/1 to maintain his hot streak.

Currently playing his football for Pachuca in the Mexican top flight, there will be plenty of clubs showing interest in the 25-year-old, even if Ecuador are heading home after Wednesday's match.

That looks likely to me, with France expected to keep up their perfect record, although the layers are taking few chances and it might be a game to sit out and wait to see who they face in the first knockout stage.

Verdict: Ecuador 1 France 4 (MB)

Best bet (with Sky Bet): Karim Benzema to score any time at 4/5

  • Posted at 1745 BST on 24/06/2014.


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