2014 WORLD CUP SOCCER
Kickoff: Sunday, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Estadio Nacional Mane – Garrincha, Brazil
Switzerland +135, Ecuador +190, Tie +205
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +170, Under -222)
Group E play of the 2014 World Cup opens on Sunday afternoon with what should be a tight matchup between Switzerland and Ecuador.
Ecuador made it to their third World Cup in four renewals by finishing above well-fancied Uruguay in CONMEBOL qualifying, and can land decent outsider odds by beating Switzerland in Group E's opening fixture. The South Americans improved on their early exit in 2002 when emerging from a group containing hosts Germany, Poland and Costa Rica four years later. They've won three and lost four of seven World Cup matches since debuting in 2002, prevailing in their first in Germany against Poland, so backing a draw in Brazil seems a fool's errand.
Reinaldo Rueda's men pit their wits against a Switzerland outfit managed by wily former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, but the Europeans could arrive in Brazil somewhat undercooked after an undeniably straightforward preliminary campaign.Seven wins and three draws from 10 qualifiers launched the Swiss into the FIFA world rankings top-10, but the fact that Iceland – who have never qualified for the World Cup – finished a distant second in their group tempers that form line. Erratic recent performances offer little indication as to how they might fare in the land of samba, with a 1-0 autumn win against Brazil and a 2-2 March draw with Croatia sandwiching a 2-1 loss to South Korea among other results.
Switzerland exited early in 2010 despite beating eventual winners Spain in their opener, but ECUADOR – who have held Argentina twice since last June – have enough quality to ensure that only the former of those eventualities can occur in their home continent.