FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 – Switzerland vs Costa Rica PREVIEW
A game where one side has a lot more to play for than the other. Switzerland must avoid defeat to get into the next round just in case Serbia pull out a result in the other game. Meanwhile Costa Rica are already eliminated, however they won’t be an easy team to beat, they’ll play for pride so Switzerland will need to show up.
So far, Switzerland have been the comeback kings of the tournament. First they came back from 1-0 down to draw Brazil 1-1, then they came back from 1-0 down against and beat Serbia 2-1 with a last min winner by Shaqiri in a game where Shaqiri and Xhaka had very controversial celebrations and were in danger of getting suspended, but FIFA decided against it. Switzerland’s mental toughness have truly been put to test so far and they’ve responded. With these two results, Switzerland have put themselves in a position where they will advance by picking up at least one point against the sluggish Costa Rica. Switzerland are currently second, behind Brazil on goal difference and above Serbia by one point. So far in the tournament, Switzerland have performed to their capabilities, frustrating, physical side to play against who have technical players that can make game changing moments and we’ve seen that with Shaqiri and Xhaka, the two goal scorers against Serbia, also Shaqiri being the creator of the goal against Brazil. Defensively, the Swiss have looked good as usual, they’ve been a tough nut to crack and it’s highly unlikely Costa Rica can break them down. One weakness that we’ve noticed from Switzerland is that their strikers have not been existent. Seferovic has been very quiet, while Embolo has made a little more difference but nothing special either due to lack of gametime. Other than that, Switzerland have been a good, solid team all around and should advance past the first round.
Costa Rica have been brought back to reality this year. They have not been able to replicate their success of 2014 and have already been eliminated. Coming into the last game they’ll be fighting for pride. In the first two games Costa Rica have been a frustrating side to play against, however going forward they barely posed any threat. In the first game they lost 0-1 to Serbia and then they lost 2-0 to Brazil conceding two 90 minute goals. The only player that really stands out from the Costa Rican side is their goalkeeper Keylor Navas. If not for his saves, Costa Rica probably get battered in both games. Defensively they haven’t been amazing, both Serbia and Brazil created chances but if you look at their other aspects of play, it’s gets even worse. Lack of creativity in midfield and no finishing at all up front. Bolanos and Ruiz have not played amazing and their striker Urena isn’t even a legit goal scorer which sums everything up on why they can’t score. It’s been a disappointing campaign for Costa Rica to sum it up.
Expect Switzerland to control the possession in this game. Switzerland are simply superior and being the better team you’d expect them to control the game and look for spaces in Costa Rica’s defence to break them down. Costa Rica have played defensive football all tournament long, that’s the only way they can really beat a team because if they attempt to go forward they’ll get exposed therefore sitting back and hoping for a bit of luck on the counter attack is the best bet for Costa Rica. The keys for Switzerland is to avoid a defeat at all costs. If they can’t find a way to score, then they need to just settle for a draw. One change that we can see happening in the Swiss lineup is Embolo possibly taking over the starting spot over Seferovic. Meanwhile Costa Rica have not been a threat throughout the tournament so if the Swiss continue to show their solidity at the back, they’ll keep their clean sheet. For Costa Rica as mentioned already, they need to come into the game trying to hit the Swiss on the counters and somebody has to actually create and convert a chance. Defensively they need to make sure they don’t allow Shaqiri and Xhaka to run the show and Navas has to perform well cause Switzerland will have chances, they’ll shoot from distance which means Navas will need to make saves. We may see rotation of the squad from Costa Rica since they’ve hardly been effective.
With the way both sides have looked, it’d be hard to bet against the Swiss. Switzerland have looked good, they’ve scored goals and looked good defensively although no clean sheets yet, but then again they faced Brazil and Serbia. Costa Rica haven’t scored yet, hardly been a threat and it should be a comfortable evening for the Swiss defence. Essentially, we should expect the Swiss to break Costa Rica down a couple of times. Navas will make a few saves for Costa Rica but it wont be enough. Swiss are riding high after the win against Serbia, Shaqiri is in form, they’re the better side overall and it all adds up to a Switzerland 2-0 win and a ticket to the second round.
1 Brazil 4 pts +2 GD
2 Switzerland 4 pts +1 GD
3 Serbia 3 pts 0 GD
4 Costa Rica 0 pts -3 GD
ODDS – Decimal (WilliamHill)
Switzerland Win – 1.73
Draw – 3.30