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Qatar 2022: Round of 16 Preview; Giants pretenders vs Giant Slayers.

The Knockout stages are here, and the winner takes all as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal take on Giant killers Switzerland.

The Knockout stages are here, and the winner takes all as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal take on Giant killers Switzerland.

Portugal have only made it to the Round of 16 stage of the world cup six times in their entire history and that is including Qatar 2022.

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They have also only passed the round of 16 twice and none of the two times came in the last three editions of the tournament. Round of 16 in 2010, a group stage exit in 2014 and a round of 16 disqualification in 2018 was the best they could achieve. Portugal the giant footballing nation as we have come to know it in recent times have left a rather illegible mark in the sands of football time.

They currently have what looks like a golden generation, and if they were to ever go all the way, this looks like the best time to do so, after a very dominant display in the group stages. +however they would have to overcome a 'jack the giant slayer' sized hurdle in Switzerland if they are to ever lay hands on the most coveted trophy in football.

Switzerland have become something of a giant slayer in recent years, they knocked out France in the euros and they have beaten Spain and Germany since 2021.

Games between both these sides have always been difficult to call, and they do not stay one sided for long and this is a story plainly told by looking at their head-to-head.

Portugal and Switzerland have played in 6 competitive games since 2008, Switzerland won the first two, Portugal were victorious in the three after that, while Switzerland would go into this match as the team who won in the previous meeting between both sides.

Portugal won their first two group games, and in what could only be explained as 'taking one's foot off the gas' upon qualification, they lost the final group game against a spirited South Korea.

Switzerland on the other hand finished second in a group where second place was the most realistic finish they could expect from themselves, finishing behind Brazil and beating the two teams they were expected to beat.

Bruno Fernandes has been cooking up a golden ball worthy tournament and is definitely one of the best players in the group stages.

With Ronaldo terribly off form, the Manchester United playmaker would be the Atlas to the dreams of a Nation 10 million strong.

Breel Embolo has come up clutch for his country so far in this tournament, and with no roots or links to trace back to Portugal, he would be looking to celebrate goals against the country many say the Goat comes from.

“Still in the game with Serbia, losing 2-1, they never lost their north. I expect a Switzerland that knows very well what it wants.” he praised Switzerland

“We believe it’s possible and we want to continue here. With each passing tie we get closer to being favourites, but what matters is what we have to do in the game. Whoever plays for Portugal always has an obligation to win, for us it’s good feel that [it is a good feeling]. We really want to win and we have to do everything for that” he continues about their ambitions.

Fernando Santos is expected to return to the lineup he favoured in earlier group stage games after giving some of them a rest Vs South Korea

D.Costa; Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Neves, Carvalho, B. Silva, Fernandes; Felix, Ronaldo.

Yann Sommer is expected to return to the starting 11 after missing out of the game against Serbia due to illness

Sommer; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; Embolo

This game would be very difficult and it is hard to see it getting resolved in regular time. The prediction is the winner would be determined using extra time and maybe even penalties.

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