Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld hailed a ‘dream finish’ as his side scored in the dying seconds to defeat Ecuador in their opening World Cup Group E match, Sky
Ranked sixth in the world, the Swiss made a sluggish start to the game and were punished midway through the first half by Enner Valencia, who headed home unmarked from a free-kick to score his fifth goal in as many internationals.
However, Hitzfeld made a change at half time and it immediately paid dividends, with Admer Mehmedi powerfully heading into the net from a corner. After a disallowed goal for Josip Drmic, the game seemed to be heading for a draw, only for Switzerland to strike the winner with the game’s final meaningful action.
Valon Behrami dispossessed Michael Arroyo inside his own penalty area to begin a counter attack. The ball was eventually crossed into the path of Haris Seferovic, who hit the ball high into the roof of the net to put his side in pole position to reach the knockout phase with games against France and Honduras to come.
And after the game, Hitzfeld said: “It was a dream end to the game for us and is very important for the morale of the team. It will give us some extra strength for the next two matches. (For the winning goal) We reacted intuitively and knew how to take advantage of the Ecuadorean mistake. It is marvellous to win in the last minute as it releases positive energy and is very good for the morale of the team.”