Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
June 20, 2014; 20:00 BST
France, after their emphatic win over Honduras, will face Switzerland in their second match of the world cup. The French looked quite fluid and confident in their approach against Honduras and they have a good chance of cementing their place in the final 16 by beating the Swiss team. Switzerland will also be up for this challenge after their last minute win over Ecuador.
Team news and tactics
Switzerland won their first match in the most dramatic fashion as they scored the winning goal on 93rd minute, just few seconds before the final whistle.
The most important thing about the Swiss team’s approach in that game was their never-say-die attitude. The Swiss were behind by 1-0 while coming in the 2nd half and there chances of winning looked deam. But the Swiss bounced back in the second half, after a very clever substitution by their coach Hitzfield to bring on Mehmedi for struggling forward Stocker. Mehmedi proved his coach’s decision right by scoring just 2 minutes after his introduction in the match.
The midfield comprising of Shaqiri, Inler, Xhaka and Stoker will have to deliver against the strong French defence line. Shaqiri with his experience will be the mainstay of their midfield.
Their defence line will comprise of Rodriguez, Djourou, Lichtsteiner and Von Bergen. While Benaglio will remain under the bar.
Expected starting line-up: Benaglio (GK); Lichtsteiner, Djourou, Bergen, Rodriguez; Inler, Behremi; Shaqiri, Xhaka, Mehmedi; Drmic
France displayed a clinical performance against Honduras in their first match. Though their world cup campaign started with a massive setback when their star player Franck Ribery was forced out of the tournament due to an injury, but this win must have boosted their confidence in a big way.
Karim Benzema, who had huge load of expectations on his shoulders, got his form up and running with a double strike in the Honduras game. The Real Madrid striker was extremely sharp and alert up front. He will have the responsibility to find goal scoring opportunities, he is extremely sharp in the penalty box and has the ability to score goals even from very acute angles, which he showed in his goal against Honduras.
The French are expected to go into this match without any change. There is a concern about their overdependence on Karim Benzema up front, and the other two strikers Valbuena and Griezmann will have to step up their game and get their names on scoresheet.
The midfield will comprise of Cabaye, Matuidi and Pogba. All of them have a versatile approach to the game. Pogba has rised as one of the best all round midfielder playing at present. His ability to build an attack and fall back while counter attack will help the French to maintain its formation in shape. Matuidi will look to enforce his physical strength in the midfield area. while Cabaye can cut through the opposition defence with his dribbling skills combined with quick pace.
The French defence looks quite compact. Debuchy, Varane, Evra and Sakho will form the back line of the team. Evra and Debuchy will start from the flank side while Varane and Sakho can occupy the central position. Raphael Varane will be a key figure in their defence. The young Frenchman impressed many with his precise tackling skills and stout defending while playing for Real Madrid last season. He will be expected to continue his good work in this match, which will be a big test for him to prove his credentials.
Expected starting line-up: Lloris (GK); Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi, Cabaye; Valbuena, Benzema, Greizmann
Karim Benzema has started his world cup campaign with two goals. The French team will depend on him to create chances up front. An early goal by Benzema will set the match nicely for the French team.
Xherdan Shaqiri will be the mastermind of their midfield. The Bayern Munich star, who is known for his quick pace and creative play, has a great passing range as well. The Swiss strikers will look for his accurate aerial passes and through balls from the midfield.
Predicted Score: The game is expected to end in a 2-2 draw.