Switzerland v Costa Rica Odds: Xherdan Shaqiri backed to score as the Swiss bid to progressby Chloe Beresford / 27 June 2018, 13:06Tweet
Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic can be extremely pleased with his sides progress in some extremely tough Group E fixtures so far.
Following a surprise draw with Brazil in the opening fixture, his side pulled off a last-gasp win in a crunch second-round fixture with Serbia. While this team have not shown the kind of attacking prowess displayed by others in this World Cup, the Coach has made them extremely difficult to beat as already-eliminated Costa Rica are surely set to find out on Wednesday.
“I honestly feel completely depleted,” admitted the boss following a 90th minute winner from Xherdan Shaqiri in the aforementioned encounter.
“It was an interesting match to say the least. We had a roller-coaster ride. They went 1-0 up and we found our balance in the second half. We wanted to fight Serbia but initially we had problems with that.
'"hat is important is we have developed this winning mentality even when we are down. We always find a reaction, and this is an important and positive characteristic of my team.”
Such tenacity has meant that La Nati now only need a point versus Oscar Ramirez’ men – with the latter only having pride left to play for – and defeat for Serbia versus Brazil would also see them advance to the knockout stages. This will be the first time Switzerland have met their Central American opponents in World Cup action, the sides having earned a win apiece in previous friendly encounters.
The boss will also be boosted by the news that Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri have escaped bans following their politically-charged “double eagle” celebrations versus Serbia, the gesture in reference to their Albanian roots. Switzerland have only lost once since Euro 2016 and it’s difficult to see any other outcome here, with Ladbrokes offering 1.77 should they earn the three points and 6/4 via Bet365 for the favourites to be winning at both half-time and full-time.
Shaqiri is an obvious goal threat and fired in a hat-trick at the last World Cup in addition to the aforementioned winner versus Serbia this time around. Bet365 offer 2/1 for the Stoke City man to score anytime, while 9/2 on AC Milan left-back Riccardo Rodriguez with the same site is also worth considering. The Serie A star is certainly one that likes to get forward and has already contributed with two goals in this tournament.
Should Costa Rica manage to penetrate the Swiss defences, we have already seen that the latter have the necessary attributes to mount a fightback and BetBright offer 10/3 on a win for Switzerland with both teams to score.
It remains to be seen whether Switzerland have enough to make it beyond the last 16 in this World Cup, however having already done the hardest part with a draw versus Brazil, they have put themselves in the best position possible to advance beyond the group stages.
Prediction: Switzerland 2-1 Costa Rica