Another fantastic match to open play in Group E of the 2014 World Cup, as Switzerland conjure up a dramatic win with a Haris Serefovic goal in the very last minute of injury time, beating Ecuador 2-1. The South Americans actually took the lead through Enner Valencia, but another substitute, Admir Mehmedi, equalized early in the second half.
Another match that at least began as a matchup between a team that wants to dominate and win possession against a side happy to soak up the pressure, defend, and go out on counter attacks. Ecuador took advantage of a very bad game from Stephan Lichtsteiner. A foul by Lichtsteiner on the wing led to a free kick for Ecuador, as Walter Ayovi delievered a cross which Enner Valencia scored with his head without anyone marking him.
The other Valencia, Antonio, had a very bad match, keeping up his poor from this season from Manchester United, and often ruining good opportunities for Ecuador to hit the Swiss on the counter attack. He also struggled against the speed of Ricardo Rodriguez, who wasn’t used nearly enough as he should have been during the first half, with play congested on the right side through Xherdan Shaqiri, Lictsteiner and Valon Behrami.
Switzerland needed a change, so Admir Mehmedi came on during half time instead of Valentin Stocker while Hitzfeld made some inner changes, including moving Shaqiri to play behind the striker, Josip Drmic, having a frustrating day. A cross from the fantastic Ricardo Rodriguez found Mehmedi, barely three minutes on the pitch, for the equalizer Switzerland deserved.
Switzerland, despite looking like the more eager team to find the winning goal, didn’t lose shape. Even when Hitzfeld made more changes, putting Seferovic on for Drmic, Switzerland more or less kept their formation, while Ecuador kept on looking to strike through the counter attack, although lacked quality and pace with their finishing touch, again and again thwarted by the solid defense.
It was Valon Behrami who saved the day for Switzerland despite not a very good match from him. He made a tackle that probably saved a goal in the 92nd minute, tackling Michael Arroyo, which set Switzerland off on a counter attack. Nine seconds before the end of injury time, Rodriguez finds a wide open Haris Seferovic who through wonderful movement found himself clear of the Ecuadorian defense to score the dramatic winner, and help Switzerland take the first place, for now, in Group E.