Jon Karlsson 

What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: Switzerland vs Honduras (Group H)
When: Friday 25th June, 2010, at 19:30 UK Time
Where: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Not Quite a Mountain to Climb

Switzerland still have real hope of booking their passage through to the knockout stage. Sat in third, level on points with Spain, what happens as the Spanish take on Chile will be crucial. Should Spain win, then Switzerland must win by at least two goals to progress at Chile’s expense, while anything less than a win for Spain means any Swiss win will be good enough.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men will arrive in Bloemfontein in determined mood, feeling that they were harshly treated in their loss to Chile. Having worked so hard to beat Spain in their opener, the Swiss were undone by a Valon Behrami sending off which completely changed the game. Even then, Chile were only able to manage a 1-0 win. "The red card was not even a yellow", blasted Hitzfeld. "The red card made it hard to defend our goal for 90 minutes."

Now, facing the weakest team in the group, Switzerland can only concentrate on themselves, and importantly on banging in the goals to secure a convincing victory.

Going Out with a Bang

Sat at the bottom of the group, with two defeats from two, Honduras will be keen to give their fans something to cheer. Amazingly, the central American nation can still qualify for the knockout stages, but would require a convincing win here, combined with a convincing Chilean victory over Spain. It’s something even the most diehard Honduras fans cannot envisage.

Against both Chile and Spain, Honduras were clearly second best and in truth could have lost by more than the respective scorelines. With some quality players amongst their ranks though, it would be unwise to rule out their chances of shocking the Swiss and as long as hope remains, no matter how faint, Honduras will continue to fight.

"We must go out to win, and dignity must emerge", said coach Reinaldo Rueda. "We must take into account that we still have a faint chance of qualifying."

Recent form

Switzerland 1-1 Italy (05/06; Friendly)
Spain 0-1 Switzerland (16/06; World Cup – Group H)
Chile 1-0 Switzerland (21/06; World Cup – Group H)

Romania 3-0 Honduras (05/06; Friendly)
Honduras 0-1 Chile (16/06; World Cup – Group H)
Spain 2-0 Honduras (21/06; World Cup – Group H)

Players to watch

Switzerland – Blaise Nkufo: The 35-year-old striker arrived at the World Cup off the back of a title winning season with FC Twente in Holland and, having inked a move to the United States for after the tournament, this looks very much a swansong at the highest level of the game. Nkufo can score goals, has a level head, and has felt pressure before. Should a chance pop up in the 90th minute to score the goal to qualify, Ottmar Hitzfeld would want Nkufo to be presented with it.

Honduras – Amdao Guevara: Honduras’ captain, Guevara is the heartbeat of the team. Having told the troops not to fear Spain, Honduras could not stop the European Champions getting their act together. Nevertheless, what Guevara says is taken seriously by the squad. A good passer and able to create openings for his strikers, Guevara is not only in the team as an influential captain.

Match prediction

Switzerland come into the game feeling hard done to from their previous group match with Chile and it is this feeling which will help to drive them forward. Although not naturally an ultra attacking side, the Swiss will have to adopt this approach as they cannot rely on the Spain v Chile game producing an outcome positive for their progress. Honduras are not a bad side, but unfortunately have looked out of their depth at times, with quality spread thinly across the pitch. The Swiss will win, but are unlikely to thrash Honduras. A 2-0 win for Hitzfeld’s men.

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