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26 Jun 2018

World Cup 2018: Switzerland vs Costa Rica - Lineups, Preview & Prediction

World Cup 2018: Switzerland vs Costa Rica - Lineups, Preview
& Prediction

Switzerland and Costa Rica play out their final game as Group E comes to a close with many outcomes yet to be decided.

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19:00 BST, Wednesday 27th June, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), ITV4

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Last Time Out

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Switzerland Lineup

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Costa Rica Lineup

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Key Battle: Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) vs Oscar Duarte (Costa Rica)

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Talking Points

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Prediction: Switzerland 2-0 Costa Rica

19:00 BST, Wednesday 27th June, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), ITV4

Vladimir Petkovic's Switzerland look to end an impressive start to the 2018 World Cup on a high as they meet already-eliminated Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod. Star man Xherdan Shaqiri's added-time winner completed a turnaround against Serbia as the Swiss now sit joint-tip of Group E with Brazil. 

For Costa Rica, the memories of a fairytale run at the 2014 World Cup are now a distant memory, as their 2018 campaign is already at an end. The Central American nation has struggled to get going in Russia, and they've paid the price for a sluggish opening. 

Having lost to Serbia and Brazil in their first two fixtures, Costa Rica will head into the meeting with the Swiss with only pride to play for.

Last Time Out

Serbia 1-2 Switzerland

The Swiss turned around a 1-0 deficit in what has been one of the most entertaining games so far in Russia, as a late Xherdan Shaqiri effort secured all three points. 

The result means that Switzerland now sit joint-top of the group with early favourites Brazil, and with their third fixture appearing to be the most favourable of them all, topping the group is a possibility.

REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Aleksandar Mitrovic put the Serbians in front with a trademark header from a cross from Dusan Tadic, and the early goal stood as the difference maker until the break.

Granit Xhaka brought the Swiss level with a superb strike from outside the box, before Shaqiri was sent clear through on goal in added time to take all three points with a neat finish. 

The game wasn't short of controversy, though, when Mitrovic believed he should have been awarded a penalty when being wrestled to the floor, with replays suggesting he had a case.

Brazil 2-0 Costa Rica

Costa Rica's campaign was ended on Friday after losing 2-0 to Brazil, albeit in unfortunate circumstances. 

Having defended admirably for 90 minutes, frustrating a stuttering Brazilian attack, the backline was eventually breached twice in added time. 

REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Philippe Coutinho grabbed his second goal in as many games after pouncing on a loose ball in the area, before Neymar couldn't miss when he tapped home a cross a couple of minutes later. 

The campaign hasn't been disastrous for Costa Rica, nor have they been desperately outplayed at any point, but a lack of attacking threat and creativity has seen them punished. 

Switzerland Lineup

Vladimir Petkovic will look to name an unchanged side that has handled proceedings so far.

Star man Shaqiri will look to float along the frontline as Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami police a robust midfield. Defensively strong, moreover, the Swiss back four will provide a difficult puzzle for the Costa Rican attack to solve.

Costa Rica Lineup

Already eliminated, the Costa Rican's may change-up their starting XI.

The likes of Joel Campbell will hope to make his first start in Russia though the threat of losing all three games may leave little room for tinkering.

Key Battle: Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) vs Oscar Duarte (Costa Rica)

Swiss talisman Shaqiri will once again be the focal point of an attack that can give the best defences in the world a problem.

Duarte has had his hands full on the left side of the defence in recent outings with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Willian and Neymar all attacking his flank.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Shaqiri will look to interchange with Steven Zuber on the opposite side, though his trademark style of cutting in from the right flank onto his left foot will be of the highest concern for Duarte and the Costa Rican defence.

Talking Points

Can the Swiss finish the job?

Much of the pre-tournament hype around Group E surrounded the second position, such was the assumed grip of top spot by Brazil. The outcome of the first two fixtures, though, has opened the opportunity to finish atop the pile.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The Swiss are notoriously difficult to beat, and if they were to progress to the last-16, few would fancy taking on the responsibility of breaking down their defence.

Having played efficiently in their opening games, many will fully expect them to finish the job on Wednesday and progress to the knockout phases. 

What now for Costa Rica?

2014 was a tournament that will live long in the memory of Central America's footballing achievements. This time around, though, it is a different story, as they are already eliminated.

Having been drawn in a group with Brazil, Serbia and Wednesday's opponents Switzerland, the job of recreating the previous tournaments' heroics would always be tough. 

 REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

While not playing poorly, the lack of creative and attacking impetus in an ageing squad is showing. To continue to build as a nation, development of youth will be a talking point that is high on the post-tournament meeting agenda.

Prediction: Switzerland 2-0 Costa Rica

Costa Rica will play without the pressure in this final game of Group E, but the power, attacking threat and efficiency of this Swiss team will be too much for them to handle. 

The outcome of this game will be down to the midfield battle, and with Behrami and Xhaka in such good form, it will be difficult for the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Bryan Oviedo to make an impact.

Switzerland also have the added potential reward of topping the group with a comfortable victory here, and with Brazil facing off against physical Serbia side, they'll fancy their chances. 2-0.

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss all the action from Day 12 of the World Cup in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.