Switzerland entered the World Cup with questions about their form, none of which has been answered as they face Argentina in the round of 16.
Which Swiss squad will show up? The one that only conceded one goal to Ecuador and Honduras in group play or the one that was pulverised by France?
It will need its best effort facing heavily favoured Argentina, who won all of their group matches and boast one of the best attacks in the tournament.
Sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark had World Cup betting odds for this knockout-stage encounter with Argentina at 1-2, Switzerland at 13-2 and a draw line at 17-5.
Lionel Messi is tied for second for the tournament lead in goals scored, and he is the player the Swiss defence must key on. While the South American squad has two other world-class strikers in Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, they have not played well, and the latter is out of the last-16 match due to injury.
Higuain may have to show improved form in this match if the Swiss defence can somehow mark Messi out of his game.
Switzerland have a solid midfield, and their play there in this match is huge. They cannot stack up with Argentina on the attack, but they can play solid defence and create scoring chances from the middle of the pitch.
The Swiss do have a good defence, but they cannot perform like they did facing France, who was the only legitimate attacking squad in their group.
Argentina’s defence has not looked great in the World Cup, and it conceded two goals in the side’s last group match. The Swiss scored seven goals in group play, with Xherdan Shaqiri bagging a hat-trick in their last group match, which was a 3-0 win over Honduras.
Besides Shaqiri, the Argentina squad also must key on Gokhan Inler, who is the captain of the Swiss squad and the leader in midfield. If Argentina can play well in midfield and dictate the match with their pace and offensive attack, they are tough to beat.
Playing solid squads, Argentina tend to sit back and simply rely on their talent, mainly Lionel Messi, and they cannot do that in this match. They must play well as a team, and if they do not, the Swiss may shock them.
This will be a hard-fought match, and the Swiss will play well, but Argentina will win and advance.
Argentina vs. Switzerland Prediction: 2-1 Argentina
Stats and odds courtesy of Odds Shark.