The memories of the disastrous group-stage exit in Brazil 2014have been expelled. As Portugal embark on consecutive appearances in the knockout stages of the World Cup for only the second time in their history (2006, 2010). Despite a shock 2-1 loss to South Korea in their final group game, the Selecao won Group H after triumphing in their opening two matches, which was perhaps vital considering a second-place finish would have led to ac tough assignment favourites Brazil in the Round of 16.
Nicknamed ‘La Nati’, Switzerland have shown in the past that they can trouble the Portuguese, having won their recent H2H meeting 1-0 in the Uefa Nations League last June, as well as the only prior match played in a major competition a 2-0 victory in the group stage of Euro 2008. However, after two group stage wins, Yakin and his men will have to break records if they are to continue their World Cup journey as the Swiss have never won three matches in a single world cup finals campaign.
In what is likely to be his last world cup, Cristiano Ronaldo will be keen to score his first ever knockout goal in this competition after six unsuccessful attempts. He’s not the only one searching for a personal milestone, however, as after making a record 11th appearance for his nation at a world cup final and scoring the game’s opener against Serbia, Xherdan Shaqiri would tie Josef Hugi (six goals) as Switzerland’s top scorer in this tournament with another goal here.
Portugal have found the net in each of their last njne world cup finals match. Switzerland was involved in the highest scoring match in world cu history when they lost 7-5 to Austria in the 1954 edition.
Who qualifies to the next round tonight, Portugal or Switzerland?