This game was always going to be crucial in determining who would qualify from Group H, but after Switzerland’s shock win over Spain last week, it has taken on even more importance. The winner of this game will have one foot in the last 16 and could go on to top the group and avoid a potential knockout showdown with Brazil.
Chile played well against Honduras but failed to give their goal difference the boost the performance merited. Switzerland play the Central American minnows in their final game and will expect to take three points from that encounter. Throw in the fact that Chile finish up against a Spain side with everything to play for and this game really does seem to be winner takes all. A draw would suit Switzerland but Chile must push for three points.
Chile offered an attacking alternative to much of the negative football on show in this tournament during their first game. Switzerland on the other hand shut up shop against the European Champions and stole victory on the counter attack. It will be interesting to see if they will be any more adventurous this time against a Chile side that only knows one way to play.
Humberto Suazo is likely to start the game having recovered from his hamstring injury. He will probably take the place of Jorge Valdivia at the point of the front three. Valdivia has a thigh problem which may rule him out of the game entirely and is the only injury doubt for La Roja. The return of Suazo, Chile’s top scorer in qualifying is a massive boost for Marcelo Bielsa who was disappointed by his team’s profligacy in front of goal against Honduras:
“If the group is decided on goal difference then we will rue the chances we missed. We could have scored more goals and we were on top. We’ll try to win the next game because the objective is to pass to the next round and start writing new records” he said.
Philippe Senderos will miss this game through injury. The hapless former Arsenal defender injured his ankle when tackling a teammate in his side’s win over Spain. Alexander Frei and Valon Behrami may be fit to play however, both having recovered from the problems which kept them out of last week’s game. Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, Switzerland’s star man against the Spanish has warned his countrymen not to get too carried away with their current position:
“Nobody will ever deny this victory against Spain. It may have been historical, okay, but at the FIFA World Cup it’s the three points that count. And they won’t count much if we do not add some more in this group stage” he said.
Humberto Suazo (Chile) – The powerful striker scored ten goals in eighteen qualifying games to finish as top scorer in South America. With the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Jean Beausejour in good form, Chile should create chances and Suazo could cash in.
Steve von Bergen (Switzerland) – Hertha Berlin’s von Bergen was magnificent against Spain having replaced Senderos after half an hour. He will have to be on top form again tomorrow if Switzerland are to keep Chile out.