Lichtsteiner says Swiss must ignore seeding

13 June 2014 01:31

Fullback Stephan Lichtsteiner says Switzerland cannot afford to pay attention to their status as top seeds in World Cup Group E.

An impressive qualification campaign in which they remained unbeaten -- albeit without the toughest of rivals as unfancied Iceland finished second in the group -- Switzerland have gradually climbed up to sixth in the FIFA world rankings.

That helped them secure one of the eight top seed positions for the World Cup draw last December and they pulled 1998 world champions France, Ecuador and Honduras out of the hat in what is widely considered one of the easiest of the eight pools.

But ahead of their opening match against Ecuador on Sunday, Lichtsteiner insists his side cannot get comfortable in their lofty position.

"It's never easy, especially for the Swiss. Maybe France can look at the group differently but we can't allow ourselves to do so," he said.

"Ecuador have a very good team, very technical, they're very good, believe me.

"The problem is often people say (the group is the easiest) because they don't know.

"I spoke to (his Juventus teammate Fernando) Llorente who played against them with Spain (a 2-0 win for the world champions in August last year) and he told me they're good.

"And you shouldn't bad mouth France. Even if it's not the team of (Zinedine) Zidane (that won the 2000 European championships as well as the World Cup two years earlier), they're still France, they've got some great players."

The 30-year-old claims his side have learnt their lessons from the last World Cup, where they began with a shock 1-0 win over Spain, only to be eliminated from the group stages after a 1-0 defeat to Chile followed by a goalless draw with minnows Honduras.

"You always learn a lot from your defeats. This time we have a new team with a lot more quality.

"We're playing better than four years ago and I hope we'll know how to make the difference.

"And I think France (who were also knocked out in the group stages in South Africa) have also learnt from their defeats and have in Didier Deschamps a very good coach."

Source: AFP