Haris Seferovic fired a last-gasp winner as Switzerland squeezed past Ecuador in their Group E opener.
The South American side struck first through Enner Valencia's glancing header in the first half but Switzerland were good value for their victory and won the game thanks to two substitutes. Admir Mehmedi's firm header just after the interval restored parity before Seferovic provided a dramatic denouement.
Ottmar Hitzfeld's men had built their unbeaten qualifying campaign on the foundations of a solid defence and they were composed at the back again in a tepid opening to the game. Xherdan Shaqiri was spritely going forwards with the midfielder and the marauding Ricardo Rodriguez both asking early questions of goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
However, the Swiss promise counted for little as Ecuador took the lead after 22 minutes when Walter Ayovi arced a perfect free-kick away from Diego Benaglio to provide Valencia with the simplest of headers from close range. Gökhan Inler's drive from distance was the response but again Dominguez dealt with the threat.
Hitzfeld shuffled his pack at half time as a result and the impact was immediate. Switzerland's set-piece delivery before the break had been inconsistent but Rodriguez supplied a probing corner on 48 minutes that half-time substitute Mehmedi planted in with a close-range header.
Neither side was prepared to sit on what they held. Stephan Lichtsteiner's deflected drive nearly completed the turnaround while Ecuador sent timely reminders of their intent when Valencia's jinking run culminated in a ferocious strike just over and Jefferson Montero stung the palms of Benaglio.
Switzerland looked the more likely to prise a winner and the defining moment finally arrived when Rodriguez slid his cross into the path of Seferovic and the 75th-minute substitute, who scored just two league goals for Real Sociedad de Fútbol last season, fizzed his effort into the roof of the net.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.
|1||Diego Benaglio (GK)||22||Alexander Dominguez (GK)|
|2||Stephan Lichtsteiner||2||Jorge Guagua|
|5||Steve von Bergen||3||Frickson Erazo|
|8||Gökhan Inler (C)||4||Juan Carlos Paredes|
|10||Granit Xhaka||6||Christian Noboa|
|11||Valon Behrami||7||Jefferson Montero|
|13||Ricardo Rodriguez||10||Walter Ayovi|
|16||Antonio Valencia (C)|
|23||Xherdan Shaqiri||23||Carlos Gruezo|
|12||Yann Sommer (GK)||1||Máximo Banguera (GK)|
|21||Roman Bürki (GK)||12||Adrián Bone (GK)|
|3||Reto Ziegler||5||Renato Ibarra|
|4||Philippe Senderos||8||Edison Méndez|
|6||Michael Lang||9||Joao Rojas|
|7||Tranquillo Barnetta||14||Osvaldo Minda|
|15||Blerim Dzemaili||17||Jaime Ayoví|
|16||Gelson Fernandes||18||Óscar Bagüí|
|17||Mario Gavranovic||19||Luis Saritama|
|22||Fabian Schär||21||Gabriel Achilier|
|Ottmar Hitzfeld (GER)||Reinaldo Rueda (COL)|
|Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)|
|Abduxamidullo Rasulov (UZB), Bahadyr Kochkarov (KGZ)|
|Svein Oddvar Moen (NOR)|