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Portugal are set to take on Switzerland on Tuesday night in what will be the final round of 16 fixture of the 2022 World Cup. The Swiss narrowly missed out on topping their group, losing out on goal difference to Brazil while Portugal secured the top spot in theirs despite losing their final group game in the dying minutes.
Portugal go into the game as favourites thanks to their plethora of attacking talent, but this is a strong Switzerland side that will fancy their chances at breaking the nation’s unwanted record of having never won a World Cup knockout game.
The match kicks off at 7pm at the Lusail Stadium and will set us on on our way to the final stages of the tournament.
After securing qualification with a game to spare, Portugal boss Fernando Santos ringed the changes for their clash with South Korea. For the clash with Switzerland, Portugal are set to revert back to full strength.
What that means for Cristiano Ronaldo, however, is up in the air. The 37-year-old forward, who has enjoyed a turbulent few months after effectively being sacked by Manchester United, has taken issue at being substituted in each of Portugal’s World Cup games so far.
In their clash with South Korea, the situation reached boiling point when the five-time Ballon dor winner made his feelings known to his manager. Santos has since come out and refused to confirm not only if Ronaldo will play tomorrow night, but also if he will remain as captain. If Ronaldo doesn’t start then a more central role for Joao Felix could be on the card.
Aside from Ronaldo, Portugal are without Danilo Pereira and Nuno Mendes who have both suffered injuries during the tournament. Fortunately for Santos, his midfield is set to remain as strong as ever and should be the difference maker against Switzerland.
Switzerland weren’t afforded the luxury of being able to rest all of their key players for their final group game and instead played out a five goal thriller with Serbia. In a game they had to draw or win, Murat Yakin avoided the temptation of sitting back and playing cautiously and he was rewarded for his proactiveness.
Though they came through that particular fixture with no injury scares, the fitness of goalkeeper Yan Sommer is still up in the air. The highly rated shot stopper missed the game against Serbia with illness and it is unclear at this stage whether he has recovered in time to face the Group H winners.
With a clean bill of health for his outfield players, Yakin has no reason to change anything from the side that overcame Serbia. This should mean the spine of Akanji, Xhaka, Sow and Embolo stays intact while Shaqiri and Vargas will look to provide moments of magic from out wide.
Costa, Dalot, Pepe, Dias, Cancelo, B. Silva, Neves, Carvalho, Fernandes, Felix, Ronaldo
Sommer, Widmer, Akanji, Schar, Rodriguez, Freuler, Xhaka, Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas, Embolo
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