Defense was entirely optional and often ignored in this one, and it set up an incredible finish. Enner Valencia put Ecuador up first thanks to a header across the face of the goal in the 22nd minute after Switzerland failed to mark him. Switzerland returned the favor when Sub Mehmedi went unmarked on the first corner of the second half and scored on a header of his own in the 48th minute. The game's wild back-and-forth feel would get the ending it deserved.
With the teams locked at 1-1 in the final minute of stoppage time, Ecuador built a frantic push toward the Swiss goal, led by Jefferson Montero. However, Montero's hesitation to fire led to his being disposessed, sparking a threatening counter-attack led by Switzerland's Valon Behrami. Behrami was initially fouled by an Ecuadorian defender, but he quickly got up as the referee played advantage. As soon as Behrami crossed midfield, he found Haris Seferovic to his right, who then crossed the ball across the field to Ricardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez sprinted in from the left flank, coolly whipped the ball into the near post, where Seferovic was just arriving to slip the ball between the post and goalkeeper Maximo Banguera, breaking Ecuadorian hearts everywhere.
Man of the Match
Xherdan Shaqiri got the nod after wreaking havoc for much of the match, despite not scoring. Ricardo Rodriguez would have been a good pick with two assists for Switzerland.
Had to be the game-winner by Seferovic with just 20 seconds left in stoppage time. Though, honorable mention goes to countless rants on social media about the lack of defense being played by both sides.
Switzerland's Admir Mehmedi, right, scores the equalizer against Ecuador.
The last-gasp winner is a huge lift for Switzerland, who now has a strong advantage in the group as they should be highly-favored over Honduras, and could push France. Ecuador has some steep climbing to do, definitely needing a win over Honduras in their next match and hoping France doesn't have much to play for by the time they meet in their third match of group play.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Valon Behrami
- Ricardo Rodriguez
- Enner Valencia