The final match of the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup takes place on Tuesday evening and sees the former European champions Portugal taking on Switzerland for the right to face either Morocco or Spain in the last eight.
Both teams came through their group to make it to this stage. Portugal had qualified with a match to spare which they hope will be significant while Switzerland were involved in a tense group which they eventually escaped in second place.
Where to watch
The match will follow the other one on the ITV 1 channel in the UK with the build-up to the clash beginning at 6.15pm and the contest kicking off at 7pm.
I don’t think you could say that Portugal were totally convincing in their opening two matches of the tournament but they were able to win them both and with that it meant that they were able to make wholesale changes for their final game. That didn’t go the way they wanted it to but it did mean that they were able to get a rest into the majority of their starters, which when you consider there was only four days between that one and this one might be significant.
Portugal have actually looked better than they usually do in attacking areas of the pitch, even though you suspect there is more to come if they altered their personnel, but there is a concern at the other end of the pitch. They have conceded two goals in two of their three group matches and in the other one Uruguay hit the post and Rodrigo Bentancur missed a golden chance so they could have conceded two in that. If they are to go deep in this competition you would think they will need to tighten up at the back.
Considering Switzerland were in a group with Brazil, I think most judges would have thought the best they could have achieved was to finish second to them. They were benefitted by the fact that they played the weakest team in their group first and having won that match it meant their match against Brazil was a free hit. They didn’t get anything out of it but they went into the game with Serbia with their destiny in their own hands and an entertaining win saw them into this stage.
Switzerland will be keen to look back 18 months to the Euro 2020 tournament where at this stage they dumped out France. That could be perfect motivation for them here, although they will know that they can beat Portugal because they did exactly that in the Nations League earlier in the year. Switzerland have looked very good going forward in this competition but perhaps not quite as tight defensively as they are renowned for.
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Portugal are still expected to be without Danilo Pereira and Otavio who missed the last couple of matches with an injury. Diego Dalot had a positive game against South Korea and might have done enough to earn a place in the side for this game.
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer missed the last group game with illness and they will be hoping he is available for this match. Nico Elvedi also missed the win over Serbia and he will return if he has been passed fit.
When these two met in the Nations League earlier in the season they both won their home match to nil but I actually think that trend will be busted here as I fancy both teams to score here. The nature of the beast might well dictate that to be the case and it is telling that five of the first six matches in this round of the tournament have seen a BTTS bet land. Clearly the first goal forces the hand of the team who concedes it and leads to better football.
I think we saw enough from both of these teams in the group stage of the tournament that they are better going forward than they are defensively. Portugal conceded four goals in their three matches and Switzerland let three in but they could both have conceded more than they did. We also saw there are goals in these two sides and both have options to come off the bench and improve their chances too so the shade under evens that both teams score in this one is the way to play this one.
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