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Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

- Flops of the tournament as selected by Reuters journalists (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)

...

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

- The 2014 World Cup has produced several goals of outstanding quality. The following are five of the best so far according to Reuters.

- - - -

James Rodriguez (Colombia 2 Uruguay 0)

Rodriguez...

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

- Argentina's Lionel Messi has looked "jaded" and "staccato" in a disappointing World Cup overall despite some magical moments, former England striker Gary Lineker said on Saturday.

The four-times World Player of the Year and...

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

Three extraordinary minutes sum up Swiss win over Ecuador

Switzerland's Admir Mehmedi heads the ball to score. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Switzerland's Admir Mehmedi celebrates after scoring. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Switzerland's Diego Benaglio (L) and Switzerland's coach Ottmar Hitzfeld acknowledge the fans as they walk off the pitch following their 2014 World Cup Group E soccer match win against Ecuador at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia June 15, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

By Brian Homewood

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Three extraordinary minutes of stoppage-time encapsulated Switzerland's 2-1 win over Ecuador, providing a fitting finish to a hit-and-miss game that was absorbing and entertaining throughout despite a lack of finesse.

With the score at 1-1, Switzerland wasted a golden chance to counter-attack when Xherdan Shaqiri passed the ball 30 meters backwards, earning a chorus of boos around the stadium.

Almost immediately, Antonio Valencia burst down the right for Ecuador and centered for Michael Arroyo, but the substitute dallied too long over his shot and gave Talon Behrami the chance to make a saving tackle.

Behrami collected the ball, burst out of defense, was brought to the ground by a crunching tackle but, seeing the chance to break, got up and swept the ball out to his right to Granit Xhaka.

He sent a crossfield pass to Ricardo Rodriguez and the left back's low cross was swept into the net by substitute Haris Seferovic, who timed his run perfectly to get in behind three defenders.

The previous 90 minutes were entertaining, intense and produced plenty of chances even if they lacked quality.

On paper, Switzerland were the more accomplished side, with most of their players based with top Bundesliga or Serie A clubs, while Ecuador were short on top-level experience.

But, as so often at the World Cup, that did not count for much and the two teams produced an evenly balanced match in which both looked to attack.

There was an absorbing duel between Switzerland right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ecuador winger Jefferson Montero.

Montero turned about to be much more of a threat than Manchester United's Antonio Valencia, who made little overall impact.

There was an air of anticipation every time the Mexico-based Montero got the ball, but although he produced some nifty footwork, he was often let down by his final pass.

That was typical of the game and probably to be expected from two adventurous, relatively inexperienced, sides.

Even Behrami had been less than impressive for most of the game, losing possession on several occasions.

But the Kosovo-born player, who is playing in his third World Cup and was the villain four years ago when he was sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Chile, made amends with a piece of play that was hailed by Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"I really enjoyed the move when Talon was fouled but then noticed there was a chance to counter-attack," said Hitzfeld. "It is always very important to use your intuition and make the most of those chances," added the German.

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Pictures of the Day

Features

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

- Flops of the tournament as selected by Reuters journalists (4-3-3):

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Spain)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)

...

Reuters flops of the World Cup tournament

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

- The 2014 World Cup has produced several goals of outstanding quality. The following are five of the best so far according to Reuters.

- - - -

James Rodriguez (Colombia 2 Uruguay 0)

Rodriguez...

Five of the best goals from the World Cup

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker

- Argentina's Lionel Messi has looked "jaded" and "staccato" in a disappointing World Cup overall despite some magical moments, former England striker Gary Lineker said on Saturday.

The four-times World Player of the Year and...

"Jaded" Messi has disappointed at World Cup, says Lineker