Five-time winners, Brazil, get their campaign started against North Korea tonight – Daniel Billinghurst previews the World Cup betting.

Group H
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 15:00 BST

Spain and Switzerland are the last two teams to get their World Cup campaign under way and, having watched the quality of matches that have gone before them, Spain must think that this indeed is going be their year.

Ranked second in the world behind Brazil, the European champions have won 45 of their last 48 matches – their only defeat coming against the United States at last year’s Confederations Cup.

Spain striker Fernando Torres is likely to start on the bench as he is eased back after a knee injury, so Vicente del Bosque could opt for a five-man midfield with David Villa playing as a lone striker.

Del Bosque said the Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was winning his race to be fit. “Iniesta will play and he will be in the starting line-up,” the Spain manager said. “Tomorrow he will train with the ball and there are still 72 hours left.”

Striker Villa sounded a confident note when he explained why Spain were worthy contenders for this year’s crown.

“The most important thing is this team wasn’t put together a month or two ago, we’ve been together for three years now,” said the Barcelona striker. “We’ve got an established footballing philosophy and players who are in sync with that philosophy, and there’s no doubt that’s reflected out on the pitch.”

Switzerland are lead by experienced manager Ottmar Hitzfeld and they will be confident that he can emulate their efforts of four years ago by steering the side into the knockout stages. In 2006 the Swiss became the first side to be knocked out of the World Cup without conceding a goal.

Hitzfeld believes his side’s best chance of causing an upset will come from set pieces.

“The Spanish aren’t just technical, they run a lot too,” he said. “We’ll need to be compact at the back, defend with nine men and hit them on the break when we can. We also need to get in among their midfielders and force some free-kicks. That’s where we can be very dangerous,

Switzerland are without captain Alex Frei, who has an ankle injury, so Eren Derdiyok will take his place in attack. Valon Behrami has also been ruled out by Hitzfeld.

Swiss are putting a brave face on the situation and are optimistic that they can cause Spain problems.

Midfield player Gokhan Inler said: “We know they are favourites – they play at a very high level and create a lot of pressure – but there is a first time for everything and I hope this is going to be it.”

Spain (probable): Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Pique, Capdevila – Busquets – Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Silva – Torres, David Villa.

Switzerland (probable): Benaglio – Lichtsteiner, Senderos, Grichting, Magnin – Behrami/Barnetta, Yakin, Inler, Gelson Fernandes – Nkufo, Derdiyok.

Five-time winners, Brazil, get their campaign started against North Korea tonight – Daniel Billinghurst previews the World Cup betting.

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