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Swiss players still have high World Cup hopes

AFP · 23 Jun 2014, 00:05

Published: 23 Jun 2014 00:05 GMT+02:00

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After needing a late winner against Ecuador to seal a 2-1 victory in their opening game, the Swiss were trounced 5-2 by France in Salvador last Friday to leave them third in Group E.
But even so, their chances of reaching the knock-out rounds remain wide open ahead of their clash with minnows Honduras in Manaus on Wednesday, when Ecuador face France in Rio de Janeiro.
In a group open to a wide number of permutations, Switzerland could conceivably go through despite a defeat or be knocked-out even though they win.
But a victory would at least improve their chances of reaching the last 16, and avoiding the fate that has already befallen the likes of England, Spain and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Most importantly, though, Dzemaili, who scored the first of two late consolation goals against France, said they need to produce a team performance.
"Everyone can nurture big dreams, but first we have to do a little homework and that is to beat Honduras," said the 28-year-old.
"We have seen that the big teams just relying on individuals are quickly eliminated, which little Switzerland can't afford.
"We have to give our all together, like we did against France, but we also had some bad luck after they scored their early goals."
Xhaka admits they failed to deal with rising expectations after breezing through their qualifying campaign and rising to sixth in the FIFA world rankings.
"I do not know if expectations were mounted from outside or from us," said the Borussia Moenchengladbach attacking midfielder.
"You shouldn't forget that we are little Switzerland and although we shouldn't hide from anyone, our first-half performances against Ecuador and France weren't good enough.
"We played better in the second half of both games, but we need to play well over the 90 minutes."
Switzerland will have bad memories of the last time they faced Honduras, in the group stages at the last World Cup in South Africa.
Despite having beaten Spain in their opening group game, they then lost to Chile and were held to a draw by Honduras in their final match, putting them out of the tournament.

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