Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has put the number of FIFA World Cup™ first round shocks down to the fear of failure.
The Swiss pulled off arguably the result of the tournament to date when they defeated reigning European champions Spain 1-0 in their opening Group H match, but there have been plenty of other surprises. France's FIFA World Cup has dissolved into chaos following a 0-0 draw with Uruguay and a 2-0 defeat by Mexico, while England could only draw with the United States and Algeria and holders Italy have taken just a point apiece from their games against Paraguay and New Zealand.
Hitzfeld said: "The favourites and the stronger teams have a lot of pressure during the group phase because everybody just takes it for granted that they will reach the round of 16. There is always the fear of failure and if you struggle, you become nervous, and that's when the underdogs have an opportunity to create a surprise."
Switzerland did just that against the Spaniards to give themselves a great platform to progress, and Hitzfeld will settle for nothing less than a place in the last 16 as he prepares for today's clash with Chile in Port Elizabeth.
He said: "I have full confidence in my team, and our object is to reach the round of 16, and then we will just take it as it comes. But first, we have to do the groundwork, and that means securing first or second position in our group. That's what we intend to do and then we will take it as it comes. But we will not make the mistake of overestimating ourselves. We have to work hard for every achievement, but we are on the right path."
Standing in their way today will be a Chile side who know they will need to leave Port Elizabeth with something to show for their efforts ahead of their own showdown with Spain. Hitzfeld voiced the opinion ahead of the game that Chile would be the favourites, but opposite number Marcelo Bielsa disagrees.
He said: "In this World Cup, if there is something that is not allowed, it is to believe you know who will win. Normally, there are no favourites in this competition, and even less so in this than any other World Cup. Let's not forget that Spain came to this World Cup as the best team in the world, and deservedly so. The Swiss victory was very valuable to them, and you should give credit to Switzerland for that rather than taking it away from Spain."