Best bets for the Portugal-Switzerland World Cup match
Tuesday 2 p.m. ET
On Tuesday, two European rivals who know each other very well clash with the prize being a place in the final eight of the 2022 World Cup.
This will be the 26th time Portugal and Switzerland have crossed swords and the third time in 2022. They were in the same Nations League group, and their games were played over a 10-day period in June, with Portugal winning the first game easily 4-0, before Switzerland gained revenge with a 1-0 victory. At the Lusail Stadium (the venue for the World Cup Final), it will be clear these two have very few secrets from each other. It should be a tense and cagey affair.
With Ronaldo in surely his final Major finals, Portugal is here after winning Group H, despite a shock final game defeat to South Korea 2-1 as the favorites with them -110 to win in regular time and -300 to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Veteran Portuguese Coach Fernando Santos rested key players in the South Korea fixture, knowing his team had qualified and will be more annoyed than concerned by that defeat. Portugal’s first two fixtures saw a hard-fought 3-2 defeat of Ghana and a comfortable 2-0 defeat of Uruguay. In their three games so far, Portugal has averaged 60% of possession, and their world-class midfielders, led by Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, will look to have the majority of possession here.
Swiss coach Murat Yakin and his team arrive here full of confidence after qualifying in second place behind Brazil in Group G. They came out on top 3-2 in a bad-tempered clash with Serbia in one of the games of the tournament.
Their first two games were an assured 1-0 defeat of Cameroon followed by a 1-0 loss to Brazil, and judging by what we have just seen from the tournament favorites, that looks like a good result.
The Swiss won’t roll over in this one. They are a difficult side to break down due to their good organization. Switzerland has gone forward, when possible, in these finals. Against Serbia, they racked up 14 shots with 50% on target. They have averaged less than 50% of possession, and with Portugal’s midfield strength, they will likely have plenty of game time without the ball here. Their Arsenal star Granit Xhaka will be key in countering the opposition’s midfield and is having an excellent tournament.
Of the two coaches, Santos has more starting lineup concerns as Nuno Mendes is out of the tournament with an injury, and there are severe doubts over midfielder Otávio.
Switzerland has no injury worries and will welcome back their top goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who missed the final group game due to illness, and that will be a big boost for them.
Let’s be clear, Portugal has world-class stars such as Ronaldo, Pepe and Silva who have been there and done it, and they will look to draw on their experience to see them through to the final eight and a likely encounter with Spain. But this is a tough and assured Switzerland side who came through a brutal game with Serbia to get here. They also knocked out World Cup holders France to make the quarterfinals of the Euros recently, so they will not be in awe.
As I began the article explaining, these sides know each other very well, and in a tight encounter, I think the pick is to play Switzerland on the Asian Handicap +0.50. This means the pick cashes if the Swiss draws in extra time or wins and only loses if Portugal wins.
Switzerland +0.50 on Asian Handicap at -105