Manaus, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams hoping to close out group play with a crucial victory will collide Wednesday at the Arena Amazonia when Switzerland battles Honduras.
After fighting to a 2-1 win over Ecuador in their opening match, the Swiss were victims of a 5-2 crushing at the hands of red-hot France on Friday. After surrendering a stunning five consecutive goals, Switzerland did regain enough composure to pull back two of its own in the final nine minutes of the match.
"We weren't able to demonstrate our potential," said Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. "The players finally reacted with those two goals, but it was too little, too late. We are still hopeful of qualifying, though."
Honduras also felt the wrath of Les Bleus in its opening group match, losing 3-0. Friday, the team got on the scoresheet for the first time, but fell 2-1 to Ecuador.
"I think we had a bit of difficulty keeping our nerves in check given what was at stake in the game, but I'm satisfied with my team," said Honduras boss Luis Suarez. "We know it'll be tough to reach the next round, but it'd be even worse to have been knocked out already. We need to find a way to improve in order to win and while there's hope, we won't give up without a fight."
Los Catrachos will need a sizeable victory, plus another French rout, over Ecuador in order to sneak into the knockout round.
Though France, sitting on six points with a plus-six goal differential, should not have any problem winning the group, the runner-up spot is still very much up for grabs. The Swiss will try to improve on their minus-two goal difference, while getting a much-needed three points.
Switzerland's defense has certainly been called into question following the previous defeat, in which central defender Steve von Bergen suffered a head injury and had to be replaced.
The Hondurans are still searching for that elusive first-ever World Cup victory in the nation's third tournament appearance.