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World Cup

  • July 1, 2014
  • • 17:00
  • • Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, São Paulo
  • Referee: J. Eriksson
  • • Attendance: 63255
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Argentina - Switzerland Preview: Hitzfeld's men looking to halt in form Messi

Argentina - Switzerland Preview: Hitzfeld's men looking to halt in form Messi

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The European side scraped through to the second round but come up against a strong Albiceleste team on Tuesday

By Kris Voakes in Sao Paulo

Having bounced back from a thumping 5-2 defeat by France to convincingly beat Honduras, Switzerland will have raise their level still further on Tuesday when they face Argentina in the round of 16 in Sao Paulo.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side have proven to be something of a mixed bag thus far, scraping a late victory against Ecuador before their heavy loss to les Bleus and responding with a Xherdan Shaqiri-inspired 3-0 win over Luis Suarez’s Central Americans.

Shaqiri will again be the man of whom much will be expected across Switzerland, with his hat-trick in Manaus having raised the bar following the less than convincing performances which had preceded their final Group E fixture.

Next though, they face an Albiceleste side benefiting from Lionel Messi’s first truly outstanding World Cup run. His four goals in their faultless Group F campaign have helped the Barcelona man to be picked out as the star of the tournament so far.

Like the Swiss, Alejandro Sabella’s men have no suspension worries, having been brandished only a single yellow card in three games, but they are without Sergio Aguero thanks to a leg muscle injury. Ezequiel Lavezzi is likely to step into his place, with Rodrigo Palacio also in consideration.

Hitzfeld, meanwhile, has been hit by the loss of reserve striker Mario Gavranovic, who flew home on Sunday after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in training.

Players to watch

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

When Messi is in the kind of form which has helped to carry Argentina this far without blemish, it is almost impossible not to think back to the run Diego Maradona enjoyed at the heart of the Albiceleste’s triumph in 1986. Emulating – and even surpassing – his country’s most cherished son may only be four games from the Barcelona star’s reach.

 

X. Shaqiri

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Bayern Munich forward proved against Honduras that he has what it takes to make the difference at this level, and he may well need to reproduce that form if Switzerland are going to cause an upset. Like Messi he stands at 1.69m, but unlike the Argentine he is not expected to feature in the quarter-finals. But another performance like the one which brought his side this far would result in another surprise result at Brazil 2014.

Editor's Prediction

After being taken apart by France the last time they came up against one of the tournament’s leading lights, Switzerland owe it to themselves to put up a better fight this time. However, with Lionel Messi beginning to truly get a taste for World Cup stardom, they may be left with an uphill battle in Sao Paulo. If the No.10 fires, there may be little the Swiss can do to stop him sending Argentina into the last eight.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Argentina

Switzerland

Wins
3
2
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Argentina ARG
Argentina Argentina
Draw
Switzerland CHE
Switzerland Switzerland
75%
19%

Top 3 Predictions

Argentina ARG
2 - 1
Switzerland CHE
Argentina ARG
3 - 1
Switzerland CHE
Argentina ARG
2 - 0
Switzerland CHE

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