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Soccer-Confident Swiss won't play for draw against Honduras - coach

Reuters

By David Ljunggren

MANAUS, Brazil, June 24 (Reuters) - Switzerland are confident ahead of their final World Cup Group E game against Honduras on Wednesday and will not settle for the draw that may be good enough for them to advance, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said on Tuesday.

Switzerland have three points and a draw would see them into the second round as long as leaders France beat Ecuador in the other group game.

Honduras have no points but can still qualify by beating the Swiss and hoping the French defeat Ecuador. They also need to overcome a goal difference of minus four.

"We're not just playing defence and this is why we don't play for a draw. That is definitely not our mindset," Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told a news conference.

Asked whether he feared Wednesday's game might be his last, he replied: "No, I'm fully concentrated. We want to reach the round of 16. I am sure we will continue in this World Cup."

The Swiss started off well by beating Ecuador 2-1 but wilted in the sun during a 5-2 loss to France.

Hitzfeld said his team were ready for the heat and humidity of Manaus but brushed aside questions about the French defeat.

Full back Stephan Lichtsteiner was less reticent, saying the loss had been a wake-up call.

"We had good moments against France but we made some mistakes. We can't misplace our passes ... we allowed France to beat us," he said.

"We are together and united so I am very optimistic about tomorrow."

Hitzfeld's main decision is what to do about his central defence. Steve von Bergen came off injured early in the French game and has flown home for treatment.

His replacement Philippe Senderos did not look solid and this could be a problem against Honduran forwards Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengtson.

"They are two strong players, they're tall players, they both make long passes. Bengtson will come in from the wing. They head and kick the ball well and they are both fast," said Hitzfeld. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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