Six minutes into Switzerland’s game against France on Friday, Steve von Bergen and Olivier Giroud collided. The Swiss defender came off much worse for the wear, with blood pouring from his cheek where Giroud’s boot had raked over his skin. Philippe Senderos replaced von Bergen, and the latter was taken to the hospital in Salvador.
The collision left von Bergen with a fractured cheekbone. He will now return to Switzerland for treatment, leaving his teammates attempting to advance in his absence.
The match against France ultimately ended in a 5-2 defeat for the Swiss, who were unable to score until the 81st minute. They are on 3 points in Group E, having beat Ecuador 2-1 in their first match, but an inferior goal difference puts them into third place.
Switzerland might be bolstered by the fact that Ecuador now face France, and could very well receive a similar beating, while their next opponent is Honduras, who’ve scored just one goal thus far. However, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side will likely struggle without von Bergen. Senderos, recently signed by Aston Villa, gave supporters of his new club no cause for celebration in his display for Switzerland. The centerback was caught out of position time and time again, allowing France to have their way with goal.
Hitzfeld also faces a selection dilemma in central midfield. Valon Behrami, once such a solid enforcer, gifted France their second goal with a direct pass, and his link-up play between the defense and attack was abysmal. He was replaced at halftime by Napoli teammate Blerim Džemaili, who scored a wonderful direct free kick for Switzerland’s first goal. But while Džemaili offers more going forward, he is not as strong as Behrami defensively.