The final place in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals is the prize as Portugal and Switzerland face each other in the last round-of-16 tie on Tuesday at 7.00 pm.
Fernando Santos’ men were one of the first teams in Qatar to qualify for the knockout stage by winning both opening Group H matches via an aggregate score of 5-2.
After edging Ghana on the inaugural matchday and utterly outclassing Uruguay in the following round, the Selecao had the luxury of rotating the squad in a 2-1 defeat to South Korea last time out.
Pursuing a career-defining achievement of winning the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo was a rare first-team star to start against the Taegeuk Warriors as he seeks form following a torrid season at Manchester United.
However, since bagging home a spot-kick to unlock Ghana on day one, the 37-year-old has struggled to make an impact, which can encourage Switzerland’s hopes of continuing their dream World Cup journey.
Despite being stuck in one of the most challenging groups in Qatar, Murat Yakin’s team captured a runner-up spot in Group G, finishing below Brazil but clear of Cameroon and Serbia.
Aside from a somewhat expected 1-0 loss to the five-time world champions, La Nati won their remaining two group-stage games by a single-goal margin, including a topsy-turvy 3-2 beating of Serbia in round three.
Delivering action from the get-go, the 2016 European champions have opened the scoring in eight of their last nine World Cup outings, including all three in this tournament’s group stage.
Interestingly, that defeat to South Korea on Friday marked Portugal’s first-ever loss in a World Cup fixture after opening the scoring, having gone unbeaten in 18 such contests beforehand (W15, D3).
Breaking the deadlock could, therefore, provide the Selecao with the means to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time since finishing fourth at Germany 2006.
Victories over Cameroon and Serbia in the group stages mean Switzerland could win three games at a single World Cup finals for the first time in the nation’s history.
From the 2010 tournament onwards, none of the Swiss’ five World Cup encounters against fellow European opponents have ended level (W3, L2), with three of them featuring over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring.
Although they may suggest La Nati are prone to producing high-scoring affairs, it’s worth noting that three of their last four World Cup outings have yielded an identical 1-0 scoreline (W1, L2).
Portugal vs Switzerland Head-to-Head
While Portugal and Switzerland have never met at the World Cup before, they know each other well, having locked horns twice in the UEFA Nations League in 2022.
After the Selecao strolled to a 4-0 win in Lisbon in early June, La Nati got revenge a week later by eking out a 1-0 triumph in Geneva.
The H2H stakes across their six competitive showdowns in the 21st century are perfectly balanced, with each side recording three wins apiece.
Portugal vs Switzerland Potential Line-ups
Portugal (4-3-3): Diogo Costa; Joao Cancelo, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro; Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves, William Carvalho; Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Yann Sommer; Silvan Widmer, Nico Elvedi, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez; Granit Xhaka, Remo Freuler; Xherdan Shaqiri, Djibril Sow, Ruben Vargas; Breel Embolo.
Portugal vs Switzerland Prediction
Based on the H2H record, there’s nothing to separate Portugal and Switzerland ahead of the kick-off.
Yet having Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on your side has its benefits as we back the Selecao to see off Yakin’s team here.
Portugal 2-1 Switzerland
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