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Switzerland could take a while to force their way past Japan

Pre-World Cup friendly may not get off to a flying start

Valdimir Petkovic led Switzerland to the last 16 of Euro 2016
1 of 1

Friendly, 6pm Friday

Switzerland will complete their World Cup preparations against Japan on Friday and they should be pretty pleased with the way things have been going.

Having been forced into the qualification playoffs after losing their final game against European champions Portugal - they beat Northern Ireland by a solitary goal over two legs - Switzerland have been in solid form in their pre-tournament friendlies.

Before drawing with Spain in Villarreal, they kept clean sheets in victories over PanamaGreece and Peru and that will be considered more than satisfactory for manager Vladimir Petkovic, who led the Swiss to the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

He will be mindful that his team face a tough group against Brazil, Serbia, who were the strongest team in pot four of the draw, and Costa Rica, who went on a surprising march to the quarter-finals last time, but Japan's Group H test looks pretty tough too and they haven't been shining of late.

Despite winning their Asian qualifying group, it is only two months since manager Vahid Halilhodzic was sacked and Akira Nishino has been left to pick up the pieces.

Defeats against non-qualifiers Ukraine and Ghana suggest they have a long way to go as does their need of a last-minute penalty to earn a draw against not-so-mighty Mali.

It is a big ask for Nishino to get them back on an even keel and while Switzerland may not represent a test against the cream of European talent, they so represent a step up in class on Japan's recent opposition.

Although Switzerland fired six goals past Panama recently, few goals are anticipated mainly because so much is set to rest on their first World Cup match against Group E favourites Brazil.

Just seven of Switzerland's 23 qualification goals came before the half-hour mark and this could prove another game when they don't fly out of the traps.

Recommendation
First match goal after the 32nd minute
1pt 13-10 Paddy Power

Bet on this match at soccerbase.com


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Before drawing with Spain in Villarreal, they kept clean sheets in victories over Panama, Greece and Peru
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