Football

Hitzfeld: Kudos to Seferovic and Behrami

Hitzfeld pays tribute to match-winner Seferovic and midfielder Behrami

GROUP E

SWITZERLAND 2

(Admir Mehmedi 48, Haris Seferovic 90+3)


ECUADOR 1

(Enner Valencia 22)

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld hailed goalscorer Haris Seferovic and midfielder Valon Behrami, after they helped conjure a last-gasp victory over Ecuador in their opening World Cup Group E game this morning (Singapore time).

With seconds left on the clock at the National Stadium in Brasilia, Behrami flung himself into a tackle to deny Ecuador's Michael Arroyo a shooting chance in the Swiss penalty area before surging upfield.

After he was felled by an opponent, he picked himself up in a flash and the referee waved play on, the ball eventually finding its way to Ricardo Rodriguez on the left whose pinpoint cross was hammered in by substitute Seferovic from close range.

"I very much enjoyed that play when Valon was fouled but then noticed there was a chance to counter-attack," German Hitzfeld said after the match.

"It is always very important to use your intuition and make the most of those chances.

"We knew that Ecuador, when they are attacking, sometimes don't get back to defend so quickly and there are holes and we were able to make very good use of that.

"It was a dream end to the game for us and very important for the morale of the team. It will give us some extra strength for the next two matches (against France and Honduras)."

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Seferovic had come off the bench to replace Josip Drmic in the 75th minute and, while Hitzfeld had words of praise for the burly 22-year-old, who plays for Spanish side Real Sociedad, he also noted room for improvement.

Seferovic made little impact in La Liga last season, scoring only two goals in 24 appearances in Spain's top division, and also had a run-in with the police after a public row with his partner.

"Seferovic is a full-blooded centre forward who moves very well," Hitzfeld said. "He also has the physique to compete against robust opponents.

"What he lacks is playing time which he unfortunately hasn't been getting at Real Sociedad.

"He already played very well for us in qualifying and he has talent, but of course he has room for improvement."

Switzerland's next match in the group is against France on Saturday morning in Salvador and they meet Honduras in Manaus five days later.

Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda lamented that his team let their emotions get the better of them in the dying minutes and charged upfield, allowing Switzerland to snatch the winner with the last kick of the game.

"We lost our organisation, which has been one of our characteristics, at the end of the match, we were somewhat betrayed by our emotions," the Colombian said after the 2-1 defeat.

"This provoked the goal which took the draw away from us. I believe a moment of naivety costs us the match.

"Football is like that, the result wasn't really what we deserved. We now have to get over this defeat and work on our morale."- Reuters.


MATCH STATS

Total shots:

Switzerland 18, Ecuador 10

Shots on target:

Switzerland 12, Ecuador 6

Corners:

Switzerland 8, Ecuador 5

Offsides:

Switzerland 1, Ecuador 4

Fouls committed:

Switzerland 9, Ecuador 15

Yellow cards:

Switzerland 1, Ecuador 1

Ball possession:

Switzerland 57%, Ecuador 43%

World Cup