Our prediction for this match:
Switzerland and Japan, the two teams that qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, face each other at Stadio di Cornaredo in what is expected to be a very interesting game. The Rossocrociati are likely to rely on their rock-solid defence in Friday’s football match and they are definitely capable of keeping a clean sheet in their last warm-up game ahead of the tournament in Russia. A man to watch in the home team will be Premier League ace Xherdan Shaqiri, who is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders. Arsenal midfielder Xhaka could pose a big threat for the Japan back-line as well. Speaking of the away team, the Samurai Blue failed to impress in March friendlies against Mali and Ukraine and we do not believe that they are capable of spoiling Switzerland’s party in Lugano on Friday evening.
Highlighted Player (Keisuke Honda):
Keisuke Honda is considered one of the most famous Japanese footballers. Honda was born in Settsu, Osaka on June 13, 1986 and he started his youth career at his hometown club Settsu FC. In 2004 he signed a professional contract with Nagoya Grampus and he played for the J1-League club from 2004 to 2007.
The left-footed midfielder then moved to Europe, signing a deal with VVV-Venlo on January 16, 2008 and it has to be noted that he scored 24 goals in 68 league appearances for the Dutch outfit. In the winter of 2009 Keisuke Honda joined Russian club CSKA Moscow for an undisclosed fee. The Japanese footballer quickly established himself as CSKA’s key player and in 2013 he won the Russian Premier League title with the Armeitsy.
Nowadays, the Japan international plays for Mexican side Pachuca. As for his international career, Honda made his Japan debut on June 22, 2008. Honda is well known for his accurate and powerful shot and he often scores from free-kicks.
Highlighted Team (Switzerland):
While missing the first ever World Cup, Switzerland played at next four, reaching the quarter-finals on three occasions, but they were unable to repeat the success in next six appearances. Nati reached the first knockout stage in 1994, 2006 and 2014, but they couldn’t make the next step.
When it comes to their European Championship appearances, the situation is even worse, as the team only qualified for the 1996, 2004 and 2016 finals, while they automatically qualified for the 2008 tournament together with co-hosts Austria. Switzerland national team of late have profited from the multicultural environment, as they appear to have closed the gap behind top European sides and also adopted a more adventurous style of play.
The new generation is probably the most talented yet, with players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez and Valon Behrami all held in high regard. Nati now have a unique chance to try and reach the closing stages of a major tournament as their key men are either at their peak or will be there in the next couple of years.