Manaus: Switzerland meet Honduras in their final World Cup Group E game on Wednesday seeking to banish bad memories of 2010, when they scraped a goalless draw against the same opponents and crashed out early.
Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, trying to repair his team’s spirit after their 2-5 thumping against France in the previous game, dismissed questions about the parallels with four years ago.
Just as in 2010, the two sides are meeting in their final group game. Four years ago a Swiss win by a two-goal margin would have taken them into the second round.
Hitzfeld said it was no use making comparisons “because we are going to win. It’s as simple as that. The team today has more offensive potential.”
Midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said Switzerland would be taking nothing for granted when they face the Central Americans.
“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.
The group is exceedingly tight and the Swiss could qualify with a draw if the French beat Ecuador. They last made it out of the group stage in 2006 but lost in the second round to Ukraine.
Hitzfeld played down talks of a draw, saying the Swiss had to win “since that’s the only way to get through this round.”
Switzerland went into the France game in good spirits after a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ecuador in their first match but then imploded after conceding two goals in a minute.
“The team is still very disappointed by what happened against France,” Hitzfeld said.
The German coach’s main decision will be what to do about his central defence, which had a torrid time against France after Steve von Bergen came off in the ninth minute with a broken bone in his face. He has returned home.
Philippe Senderos came on for Von Bergen but did not have a good game and Hitzfeld could turn instead to youngster Fabian Schaer.
Another challenge for the Swiss will be the tough conditions in Manaus, which is in the Amazon jungle.