The thought of Chile against Switzerland as a top-of-the-table clash in the same group as favourites Spain would have been inconceivable only a few days ago.
But both teams are in the unlikely position of joint Group H leaders after the Swiss stunned the Spaniards 1-0 and Chile beat Honduras by the same scoreline to seal their first win at a World Cup in 48 years.
Although far from a mouth-watering matchup, the encounter has taken on added significance that might be enough to wake sleepy Port Elizabeth from its WC snooze. The defeats for Spain and Honduras, who meet later in Johannesburg, means a win for either Switzerland or Chile would give them one foot in the next round. The winning side may be able to advance with a defeat in their final game.
Chile's last win in the finals until their 1-0 win over Honduras had come in the 3rd/4th place playoff as hosts in 1962. They had since qualified for the World Cup four times but failed to win any group matches.
Chile's players will try to break down a tight Swiss defence and a packed midfield and avoid falling into the same trap as Spain, who lost out to a goal against the run of play.
“We definitely have to be careful because with very little possession the Swiss still managed to beat Spain,” defender Gary Medel said. “We know that we have to be much more mobile than the Spanish, to create some space, to open up their defence, which looks very closed.” Midfielder Ismael Fuentes said, “They were waiting for a mistake from Spain and they scored.” Chile versus Switzerland