Key Battles That Will Shape Switzerland's Clash with Honduras

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

Key Battles That Will Shape Switzerland's Clash with Honduras

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    Switzerland face Honduras in their final group game of the 2014 World Cup.

    There is more at stake for the Swiss than the Hondurans. Honduras are effectively out of the tournament. Even if they beat Switzerland, they will require a huge swing in goal difference to leapfrog Ecuador. However, this Honduras team are nothing if not combative. They won't leave Brazil without a fight.

    Switzerland, meanwhile, must hope they better Ecuador's result against France to jump in to the qualification spots.

    It ought to be an exciting clash. Honduras are playing primarily for pride; the Swiss for progress. Go to the next slide to discover the key battles which will determine the outcome of this game. 

Carlo Costly vs. Philippe Senderos

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    Carlo Costly instantly became a national hero when he scored Honduras' first goal at a World Cup since 1982 against Ecuador.

    While Costly was the hero for his country in the last round of fixtures, Philippe Senderos was something of a villain. Introduced in place of the injured Steve von Bergen against France, Senderos produced a disastrous display as the Swiss defence was ripped apart.

    With Von Bergen having since left the squad, Senderos will be called on again against Honduras. He will have to perform significantly better to keep the lively Costly quiet.

Wilson Palacios vs. Gokhan Inler

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    This game could be decided by which team wins the midfield battle, and there are two particularly tenacious enforcers on show for this match.

    The Swiss will deploy Gokhan Inler at the base of their midfield. He's not only a tough tackler, but an excellent distributor of the ball.

    The man charged with shutting him down will surely be Wilson Palacios. Having missed the Ecuador match due to suspension, Palacios will be fresh and ready to make his customary (and occasionally literal) impact upon the opposing midfield. 

Emilio Izaguirre vs. Xherdan Shaqiri

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    Switzerland's key playmaker is Xherdan Shaqiri. The Bayern Munich midfielder typically plays from the right-hand side, where he is able to cut in on his stronger left foot.

    To prevent him doing so, Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre will have to be at the very top of his game.

    Izaguirre certainly has the pace to stay with Shaqiri, but it remains to be seen if he can cope with his audacious skill. 

Brayan Beckeles vs. Ricardo Rodriguez

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    Brayan Beckeles is one of several members of the Honduras squad who still play in his country's domestic league.

    In the Honduran Premier League, he is unlikely to have come up against many players of the pedigree of Ricardo Rodriguez. The Swiss full-back is able to occupy the entire left flank almost alone. He is both an intelligent defender and an effervescent attacker, as shown by his two assists against Ecuador.

    Right-back Beckeles must be on his guard to prevent Rodriguez running riot again. Based on the evidence of the first two games, he may resort to heavy challenges to keep Rodriguez from imposing himself.