Fernando Santos' men scored six goals in the group stage, and their dynamic attackers will have to deliver again on Tuesday.
Portugal and Switzerland will face off in the round of 16 on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Portugal has only reached the World Cup quarter-finals once since 1966. They won two and lost one of their three games to finish first in Group H. Fernando Santos’ men scored six goals in the group stage, and their dynamic attackers will have to deliver again on Tuesday. Portugal was defeated 2-1 by South Korea in their final group-stage match. However, Santos rested some of their starters after securing a place in the knockout stages prior to their final group stage match.
Switzerland advanced to the knockout stages with a 3-2 victory over Serbia in their final group-stage game. Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo, and Remo Freuler scored for Murat Yakin’s Swiss, who finished second in Group G behind Brazil. Switzerland qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 1958. They will have to be at their best to defeat Portugal on Tuesday. Here are some of the key battles to look out for in the last 16 match on Tuesday.
Arguably the best midfielders of their respective teams, Granit Xhaka and Bruno Fernandes are no strangers to one another. The duo have faced each other a number of times in the Premier League with the Swiss playing for Arsenal and the Portuguese for Manchester United. Both players have played a central role in their team’s success over the course of the competition and it will be interesting to see how their midfield battle play out on the big stage.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been a constant in the Swiss men’s national team for years now. He has written his name in the history books of the country’s football with his contributions over the years and though he might not be the player he was five years ago, class is permanent. Shaqiri will be hoping to be the difference maker against Portugal but the left winger will have to get through Joao Cancelo. The Manchester City man is one of the best wingbacks in the world right now and it is no easy task to get past him for any player.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal-scoring record at the world cup has been a point of concern so the great man will be desperate to get on the scoresheet in the round of 16. Things will not be easy however as he will have to get the better of an in-form Manuel Akanji. Both men are strong and good in the air so their duels will be a treat to watch should they play at their best.