Portugal face Switzerland in the concluding Round of 16 tie at Lusail Iconic Stadium in 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Having qualified for this stage as Group H winners and Group G runners-up respectively, Portugal and Switzerland know a win would see them meet Morocco or Spain in the Quarter-Finals.
Portugal have no fresh injury concerns to report as Cristiano Ronaldo looks to start amidst fresh criticism from his manager – Fernando Santos.
Nuno Mendes (thigh) and Danilo (ribs) both remain absent.
Ruben Dias, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Neves and Danilo Pereira are just one yellow card away from suspension for the Quarter-Final, if Portugal avoid defeat in this match to make the last eight.
Switzerland could again be without Yann Sommer after he missed their win over Serbia due to illness.
Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi, Fabian Rieder, Fabian Schar, Ruben Vargas and Granit Xhaka all are just one booking away from missing the Quarter-Final, in the event that Switzerland win this tie.
- This is Portugal’s first meeting against Switzerland at a World Cup Finals tournament, although the pair have met nine times in World Cup Qualifying (W4, D2, L3).
- Switzerland have lost three of five previous World Cup ties against Portugal when playing as the away team, albeit in Qualifying rather than main tournament (W2, L3).
- Portugal have kept clean sheets in each of their last two World Cup Qualifying clashes against Switzerland when played as the home team.
- Across their three Group H games, Portugal have conceded twice in two of those three group matches.
- Two of Switzerland’s four goals at this World Cup have been scored by Breel Embolo.
Despite topping Group H with clinical wins over Ghana and Uruguay, Portugal haven’t exactly impressed me because for all of their attacking quality, their defence is clearly there to be beaten after Ghana and South Korea both capitalised on sloppy moments with strong pressing.
Switzerland meanwhile showed incredible gust and clinical edge against Cameroon and Serbia especially defensively when under pressure, yet somehow dug out two impressive wins so I do expect more of the same if they can frustrate Portugal and take their chances.
This clash therefore shouldn’t be easy by any mile because both teams do have strong qualities at opposite ends to cancel each other out, yet Switzerland will need to display the same grinding spirit which they showed in Group G if want to get anything here.
In my eyes, this feels like a game where tactics and end product will be vital and Portugal for me just have that edge, especially with Ronaldo up top.
Prediction: Portugal 2-1 Switzerland
Result: Portugal 6-1 Switzerland