Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), June 27: Switzerland will be aiming for a pre-quarterfinal berth when they face the already eliminated Costa Rica in a Group E tie here on Wednesday. A win or even a draw will be enough for Switzerland to book themselves a ticket for the knockout stages. Switzerland has four points -- the same as Brazil who is at the top of the table with a better goal difference. Serbia, who play Brazil at the same time, have three points.
Costa Rica, on the other hand, will be looking to wrap up their 2018 FIFA World Cup journey with a victory after failing to enter the Round of 16. The Swiss side will be high on confidence after they held tournament favourites Brazil to a 1-1 draw before beating Serbia 2-1 on Friday. Vladimir Petkovic-coached Switzerland showed remarkable defensive solidity and enough potency in attack in their past two games to suggest that they might create problems for Costa Rica on Wednesday.
For Switzerland, Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji are likely to play in central defence and there is a chance Johan Djourou could also start. Captain Stephen Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez will be the full backs with Granit Xhaka, Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami in midfield. Up front Xherdan Shakiri, Steven Zuber and centre-forward Haris Seferovic will provide pace on the break.
Switzerland midfielder Gelson Fernandes felt that it wouldn't be an easy outing for his team on Tuesday. "We know how much quality they have -- they will play with their hearts, it is their last game, they are proud to be in the World Cup," Fernandes said. "They are proud to represent their country and their first two games were very close, so we mustn't start thinking it is going to be an easy game," he added.
Costa Rica, on their part, have nothing to lose and will be eyeing nothing but just a consolation win which might end Switzerland's run in the tournament. Quarter-finalists in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Costa Rica have lost seven of their last nine matches and scored only five goals in the process. The Óscar Ramírez-coached side will have to come out with something special to stop a tough opponent.
Switzerland probable starting lineup: Yann Sommer; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka; Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Steven Zuber; Haris Seferovic
Costa Rica probable starting lineup: Keylor Navas; Giancarlo Gonzales, Johnny Acosta, Oscar Duarte; Cristian Gamboa, Yeltsin Tejeda, Christian Bolanos, Bryan Oviedo; Johan Venegas; Bryan Ruiz; Marcos Urena
Switzerland vs Costa Rica, 2018 FIFA World Cup Group E Match Prediction: Costa Rica to win 1-0