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Shaqiri fired up for Swiss opener

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Following in the footsteps of Dante, Arjen Robben and Javi Martínez, Xherdan Shaqiri will be the next FCB pro to set out on the World Cup trail when Switzerland meet Ecuador in Brasilia at 6 pm CET on Sunday evening. The attacking midfielder is a near-certain starter for ex-Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team. “We’re little Switzerland. If we play as a unit we could get somewhere,” Shaqiri declared in the build-up to his first appearance at the tournament. Coach Hitzfeld, who is to retire from the game after the finals, said he was hoping to “make history” with his men. In concrete terms that would mean “making it through to the last sixteen.”

Warm-up action for Dante

Two days after the Opening Match of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil defeated the Fluminense U-20 team 4-0 in a friendly match in Teresópolis. FCB centre-back Dante completed the full 60 minutes of the gently-paced test. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari rested all his regulars with the exception of Paulinho, the first man substituted in the 3-1 opening day victory over Croatia. The Tottenham star added his name to the scoresheet along with Hernanes, Willian and Jo.