Switzerland 2 Ecuador 1: Highlights, key battles and what the result means
Published on Jun 16, 2014 2:59 AM
World Cup Group E began with a dramatic 2-1 win for Switzerland against Ecuador, with substitute Haris Seferovic netting the winner in the 92nd minute.
It was a cruel blow for Ecuador, who matched the Swiss in a tightly-contested match with few opportunities.
- In a match of few high points, it was the goals that provided excitement for the fans. In the 22nd minute, Walter Ayovi's free kick from the left flank found an unmarked Enner Valencia in the box, and the forward made no mistake with his header.
- Swiss manager Ottmar Hitzfeld brought on striker Admir Mehmedi for the second half, and within three minutes, the substitution brought rewards as Mehmedi leapt highest to head home a corner from point-blank range.
- It seemed as if the match would end in a draw, but after a menacing Ecuador fast-break broke down, Switzerland went on the counter-attack and it was another substitute, Seferovic, who swept the ball into the net to send Swiss fans into ecstasy.
- It was a battle of Ecuador's wingers Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero against Switzerland's overlapping fullbacks Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner. All boast immense speed and tireless running, and they tested one another all match with probing crosses and darting runs. In the end it was Rodriguez who made the final lung-bursting run to cross for Seferovic to score.
Man of the Match
No one really stood out in a competitive match. How about awarding this to Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld? The wizened German made two astute substitutions and both reserves came up with crucial goals in a comeback win. Hitzfeld, a former Champions League-winning manager, clearly has not lost his touch.
What the result means
For Switzerland, they have virtually booked themselves a place in the knockout stages. They should have no problems against Honduras, and can afford to lose to France and still advance. The same cannot be said of luckless Ecuador, who now need to beat France to have a chance to advance.