Switzerland kicked off the 2010 FIFA World Cup with victory over Spain and will be keen for another great start against Ecuador on Sunday.
While Switzerland entered that fixture against the eventual champions in South Africa four years ago as huge underdogs, Ottmar Hitzfeld's men will be considered favourites for their opening Group E clash this weekend.
The Swiss have stormed into the top 10 of the FIFA rankings, currently sitting sixth thanks to an unbeaten qualifying campaign, and begin the World Cup as the highest-ranked team in a group that also contains France and Honduras.
This will be the first meeting between these two sides in international football and Ecuador may find Switzerland a difficult nut to crack.
The hosts of the 1954 tournament have carved out a reputation for having one of the most watertight defences in international football in recent years, conceding just once in their last seven World Cup matches.
However, Ecuador can draw comfort from the fact Switzerland have never picked up a win over South American opposition at the global showpiece.
And, with the tournament taking place on their home continent, Ecuador may fancy their chances of causing an upset to kick-start what could be one of the more open groups in Brazil.
With that in mind, Hitzfeld knows his players must live up to the standards they set themselves in qualifying and has almost settled on a starting XI.
"Ecuador are contenders for knockout-round qualification," he said ahead of the match. "It is important to start well against them in the group. Ecuador is well organised and technically strong. The strikers are outstanding.
"Approximately I have the starting line-up in the head. But I want to be still open because I have to be 100 per cent sure in my decisions. Sometimes a feeling changed two days before the game."
In addition to Sunday's Group E curtain-raiser, Hitzfeld also has one eye on the bigger picture and is keen to take Switzerland to the quarter-finals for the first time since they contested the last eight on home soil 60 years ago.
"We must first of all overcome the group stage," he added. "That is the biggest hurdle.
"As I said, I want to write history in Brazil - I was referring to the quarter-finals."
If Switzerland are to create their own piece of World Cup history, it is important they avoid a slip-up against Ecuador on Sunday.
|5||S. von Bergen|
|Coach: O. Hitzfeld|
for V. Stocker 46'
for J. Drmic 75'
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