Switzerland are having a great time in Russia so far, and they come into this game knowing that they only need a point to secure qualification to the World Cup knockout rounds. It’s unlikely they’ll be settling for a point though, because a win would give them a great chance of surprising the odds and topping the group.
They sit 2nd in the group at the moment, but after their excellent 1-1 draw with pre-tournament favourites Brazil they are only behind them on goal difference. With Brazil facing a tough clash with Serbia at the same time, the Swiss know that they have a realistic chance of topping this group.
Things looked like they were taking a turn for the worse against Serbia on Friday though. They went a goal behind to Aleksander Mitrovic in five minutes, but they showed great determination and pulled themselves back into the game via Granit Xhaka. Xherdan Shaqiri netted a late winner too, although the celebrations afterwards sparked controversy.
Xhaka and Shaqiri, both ethnic Albanians hailing from Kosovo, sparked outrage with their double headed eagle celebrations after the late winner. The political connotations have resulted in an investigation being launched, and both could face bans.
Costa Rica are already out of the World Cup though. They deservedly lost to Serbia in their opening game and followed that with an unfortunate but expected defeat to Brazil. They held firm against the South American superpowers for the vast majority of the game, but Phillipe Coutinho dashed into the penalty area to score a late winner, a lead that was quickly doubled by Neymar.
This leaves them pointless and goalless coming into the final match. In fact they are now winless in five World Cup games and have failed to score in four of those. Add that to the fact that they have lost eight of their last ten games and failed to score on five occasions and it doesn’t look likely that they’ll get off the mark here either.
Considering they want to top the group, a win for Switzerland looks an excellent price here. We’re also expecting a clean sheet for them, so we’re backing a Switzerland Win to Nil alongside a 2-0 correct score predictions.
So far, the 2018 World Cup has been the year of penalties. At the time of writing there have been 16 penalties awarded, and it seems inevitable that the current record of 18 penalties will be broken. With this in mind, Ricardo Rodriguez is Switzerland’s prime set piece taker, and with three goals in Switzerland’s last eight matches the left back looks a great choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
Switzerland Predicted Lineup: Sommer, Lichsteiner, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez, Behrami, Xhaka, Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber, Gavranovic
Costa Rica Predicted Lineup: Navas, Acosta, Gonzalez, Duarte, Gamboa, Calvo, Guzman, Borges, Venegas, Ruiz, Urena
These two sides have met twice before, with both Switzerland and Costa Rica taking a win apiece from the friendlies. This will be their first meeting in a tournament though.
Switzerland could drop Haris Seferovic after two rather ineffectual performances, with either Breel Embolo or Mario Gavranovic replacing him. Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri are sweating it out as they wait to see whether they’ll be suspended for their controversial celebrations against Serbia.
Costa Rica have played the same starting lineup in each of their opening two games and could do the same here, with Urena leading the line and supported by Venegas and Ruiz.