Haris Seferovic scored with the last touch of the game to hand Switzerland a late 2-1 win over Ecuador in Group E’s opener at Brasilia’s Estadio Nacional on Sunday evening.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s substitutions proved crucial to the match as both got on the scoresheet to snatch a dramatic victory over an Ecuadorian side who looked destined to get a positive result.
The South Americans were aiming to mirror their Last 16 berth from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and knew that they had to cover come a tough Swiss side before facing 2006 finalists France later on.
Jefferson Montero tried to lay on Ecuador’s first siege on goal against the Europeans when he burst down the middle of the field and found Antonio Valencia on 15 minutes. The Pachuca man cuts inside and takes a shot but it's deflected, allowing for Diego Bengalio to punch clear.
Two minutes later Rodriguez shot from just out side the area and his effort was pushed away by Dominguez for a corner kick. Before seeing Stephan Lichsteiner concede a free-kick on the edge of the area.
That set-piece allowed for La Tri’s to snatch the opening goal on the 20 minute mark when Enner Valencia nodded in Ayovi’s free-kick after being left unmarked in the box.
Switzerland started to gain momentum towards the half hour mark. Valon Behrami connected well with a corner from Xherdan Shaqiri but his header went straight at Dominguez.
Admir Mehmedi had only been on the field for two minutes after he was introduced into the match after the interval, and he made an immediate impact when he nodded home Ricardo Rodriguez’s corner with a thunderous header.
Rodriguez nearly got Switzerland’s second goal of the game with a great with his shot from just outside the area on the hour mark that missed the top corner by mere inches.
Josip Drmic thought he had made it 2-1 to the team in red when he had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes later, but it didn’t stand as it was offside.
Ecuador were dramatically denied of the winning goal just four minutes from time when Michael Arroyo fired in a set-piece that forced Benaglio to smother.
However, the Europeans were the one’s to have the last laugh when they picked up the ball inside Ecuador’s box and broke down to the other end of the field. Rodriguez supplied a cross from the flank into the box and it saw Haris Seferovic poke in the match-winner with the final touch of the game.