Contrasting fortunes for Arsenal and Liverpool’s Swiss targets
England fans might have been somewhat morose the morning after their narrow loss to Italy, especially if they braved the 2am kick-off between Japan and Ivory Coast, but this World Cup keeps lifting the spirits with exciting matches.
Group E began in style with Switzerland’s last-gasp win over Ecuador, Haris Seferovic scoring in the third minute of injury time just seconds after La Tri came closing to winning it themselves.
While there were no current Premier League players on display for Switzerland in Brasilia, there has been plenty of speculation linking some of Hitzfeld’s key men with moves to England.
Full-backs Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner have both been featuring in transfer gossip columns around Europe, with the Wolfsburg left-back set to be one of the summer’s hottest properties after an excellent campaign.
Last season Rodriguez directly contributed to 14 goals, scoring five and setting up nine, the best tally by any defender in Europe’s five major leagues.
The 21-year-old wasted little time to demonstrate that club form at the World Cup, setting up both Swiss goals as they came from behind to beat La Tri.
Liverpool are the side reportedly leading Premier League interest in Rodriguez and any scouts watching will surely have been impressed with his accomplished display.
The same cannot be said for any Arsenal representatives keeping tabs on right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.
The Juventus player has been tipped as a possible replacement for Bacary Sagna, but he was given a torrid time by impressive winger Jefferson Montero.
Uncomfortable with Montero’s dribbling from the start, no player on the pitch committed more fouls than Lichtsteiner’s three, and the 30-year-old gave away the free kick that led to Ecuador’s goal.
There have been reports that Arsenal are also chasing Serge Aurier to replace Sagna and the Ivorian, who set up both of his country’s goals in their win over Japan, looks a better bet for the Gunners than Lichtsteiner.
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