Behrami desperate to leave previous World Cup horrors behind

The Napoli midfielder is set to feature at the tournament for the third time, but has yet to complete a full match at the biggest stage
By Stefan Coerts from Brasilia

Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is desperate to enjoy a positive World Cup campaign after enduring major disappointments at his previous two attempts to make an impact in the tournament.

The Napoli midfielder picked up an injury ahead of the 2006 World Cup that kept him out his country's opening two games and featured for just two minutes in their last group stage match before they were eventually eliminated in the round of 16.

Behrami again made the Switzerland squad for the 2010 World Cup, but was benched for their opener against Spain and then received a straight red card after just 31 minutes of play against Chile, effectively ending his tournament.

However, the 29-year-old is expected to start in his country's Group E opener against Ecuador at the Estadio Mane Garrincha on Sunday and he is eagerly awaiting the chance to make amends for previous disappointments.

"This is my third World Cup and the first two didn’t go very well. I am lucky to have another chance," Behrami said.

"I will do my best to do better than on previous occasions and finish at least one game... 

"I have made some mistakes in the past and I have some bad memories from previous World Cups, but I’m a different player now. 

"I don’t expect too much of the future. I have grown up and have developed my game.

"I can’t wait to take on Ecuador. We know the first game is very important. We cannot wait to get started. We have done everything to get ready. It’s game time now."

Meanwhile, Gokhan Inler, who is expected to feature alongside Behrami in midfield, is full of respect for Ecuador ahead of Sunday's encounter, but has insisted that Switzerland have done everything to get ready for their World Cup opener.

"We are well prepared. We trained very intensively for a week under similar conditions. It’s warm in Brasilia, but the humidity is even less of a problem here than in Porto Seguro. 

"I have watched the Ecuador players closely. They have some good players, like [Christian] Noboa. The key thing is that we act as a team on the pitch, though. Ecuador play some quick football and we have to stay compact."

Switzerland made it to the quarter-finals at the 1954 World Cup, but have been unable to make it past the round of 16 since.