Analysis and a post-match inquest were vital items on the agenda at Switzerland's team hotel in Porto Seguro over the last few days. The purpose was to ruthlessly identify the mistakes made in the heavy 5-2 defeat to France so they can be corrected immediately. "The video analysis was absolutely vital. All the bad things were clear to see," acknowledged midfielder Granit Xhaka when he spoke to FIFA.com.
The disappointment in the second group match at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ was a setback for the Swiss as they seek to hit their target of a place in the last sixteen. However, Xhaka and company refuse to be knocked out of their stride. "There were actually a few positives as well," the 21-year-old contended.
Neither of Switzerland's first two matches have gone entirely according to the pre-tournament plan, but the man who scored one of the consolation goals against the French is keeping his eyes firmly on the original target. The positives from the previous match mainly relate to the team’s much improved discipline and resolve in the second half.
Xhaka has put the defeat behind him and is now totally focused on the forthcoming meeting with Honduras. Victory in Manaus, combined with Ecuador failing to win the parallel Group E fixture, would see Ottmar Hitzfeld's men through to the next stage. The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder is up for the fight: "It's like a World Cup Final. We have to fight and run for each other. We have to beat Honduras, and that's all there is to say."
Xhaka, who fills a more attacking role for his country than his club, is certain the "brilliant coach" and the wealth of experience in the team will enable the Swiss to hit form and turn in a significantly improved display against the Central Americans compared with the below-par showing against Les Bleus. He will dig deep and give it his best shot, because the playmaker yearns to remain in South America a while longer. “The opportunity to play here in Brazil is wonderful," he declared, although he admitted nerves have proved a problem, particularly in advance of the opening match.
But any remaining anxiety has now evaporated and Xhaka is oozing confidence. He predicts victory against Honduras on Wednesday: "We have a better team and more quality than Honduras. And I think we deserve to go through to the Round of 16. We're utterly determined to make it, and we'll show it against Honduras!"