Swiss unlikely to roll over against the French.
Switzerland and France looked the most likely qualifiers from Group E when the draw was made and the first round of matches in the section has underlined those thoughts.
The French eased past Honduras in their opener and look a far happier outfit than the one which shot itself in the foot in South Africa four years ago. They are missing the quality of Franck Ribery but maybe the absence of the outspoken Bayern Munich winger has actually worked in their favour.
Its brought Karim Benzema more to the fore and the Real Madrid striker scored twice and forced an own goal against the rugged Hondurans. Debutant Antoine Griezemann and Mathieu Valbuena were also impressive while there were solid performances from Mathieu Debuchy and Paul Pogba.
It’s more than 20 years since France last lost to the Swiss but their last three meetings, all in World Cup fixtures, have ended all-square and there might not be a lot to choose between the teams again.
A last-gasp strike from substitute Haris Seferovic gave Switzerland a winning start against Ecuador and was reward for showing attacking intent when it might have been easier to settle for a point in difficult conditions.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team are 11 places higher than France in the FIFA rankings and have had a more settled side over the last 12 months. Napoli’s Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami know each other’s game inside-out and that help when the chips are down.
Bayern’s Xherdan Shaquiri is known as the Alpine Messi and showed glimpses of what he is capable of against Ecuador, though he’ll be a marked man in this tournament.
France are odds-on to win this but that is more on past history than recent performances. Switzerland are tough to beat and, as they showed against Ecuador, will keep going until the very end.
It probably wouldn’t take much for brittle French confidence to shatter and they were massively helped by the sending off of Wilson Palacios in their first match.
The Swiss are 18/5 to win their second group game and the 21/20 with a goal start on the handicap looks excellent value.
This match kicks off at 8pm UK time on Friday June 20th at the Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador.