; Blow by blow: Switzerland vs Costa Rica – The Citizen

Blow by blow: Switzerland vs Costa Rica

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland celebrates victory with teammates Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland celebrates victory with teammates Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Swiss won’t miss their big chance.

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Switzerland need a win here to secure qualification, while they could still very easily top the group with victory here even if Brazil do beat Serbia. The Swiss trail by only one on goal difference currently, with both teams having three goals to their name.

Switzerland left it desperately late against Serbia in their last game, but their second-half performance when the chips were down was excellent. Costa Rica, quarter-finalists four years ago, have offered precious little going forward in their first two games here and look vulnerable to Switzerland’s skill and precision.

While the caveat about the unpredictability of teams that have already been eliminated remains, 8/11 about a Swiss win here looks pretty solid. Serbia and Brazil have both managed to beat a Costa Rica team that was also outclassed by both England and Belgium in the run-up to this tournament. Confidence must be low, and Switzerland possess the tools to unlock a team set up to defend.

Switzerland only failed to win two of their 12 qualifiers in getting to Russia. A defeat to Portugal in their final game condemned them to the play-offs despite taking 27 points from a possible 30, while a second-leg draw against Northern Ireland came when defending a first-leg lead.

They beat Japan and drew with Spain ahead of the tournament and back in March went one better than even England could manage with a 6-0 defeat of Panama. They’re not a side to take lightly and look more demonstrably superior to this particular Costa Rica side than 8/11 suggests.

Milan defender Ricardo Rodriguez looks overpriced at 9/2 to score anytime for Switzerland here given his propensity for getting forward down the left and the fact he takes penalties.

He scored three in nine games during qualification and netted in both Switzerland’s pre-tournament friendlies against Spain and Japan. Three of those five goals came from the penalty spot.

There’s a case to be made for chasing the possibility of greater rewards by backing him each-way for the first goal at 12/1. That too looks a couple of points too big.

·         Switzerland to win at 8/11

·         Ricardo Rodriguez to score the first goal at 12/1 each-way (1/3 odds, unlimited places)

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