Argentina and Switzerland battle it out today to determine who will be going home and who will move through to the quarter-finals to play the winner of the USA vs Belgium game, later today.
Where to watch –
The 12 PM EST/9 AM PST kick-off can be watched here –
Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
Starting lineups –
Argentina: Romero, Garay, Zabaleta, Gago, Di Maria, Higuain, Messi, Mascherano, Rojo, Fernandez, Lavezzi.
Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Rodriguez, Schar, Djourou; Inler, Xhaka, Behrami, Shaqiri; Mehmedi, Drmic
The South Americans romped through the group stages with 3 wins out of 3 and are one of the strongest contenders for winning the trophy. Their star studded attack has been impressive thus far and they will be on a mission to further add to their goal tally.
Having been thrashed 5-2 by France in their 2nd group game, they bounced back in style with a 3-0 demolition of a sorry Honduras side to set up today’s clash. Their 7 goals scored thus far in the tournament will give them further belief going ahead.
Switzerland’s attacking statistics are promising. Taking an average of their 3 games played each, they beat Argentina in chances created per game (15 compared to Argentina’s 13) and shot accuracy (56% compared to Argentina’s 43%). Switzerland have even scored one more goal than them till now.
However it seems like they suffer from big game nerves. Two goals out of the 6 they have conceded so far have been a result of erroneous defending. They came up short against France and were battered; the same could repeat yet again against another big name like Argentina.
Players to watch –
By the looks of it, Lionel Messi has led Argentina into the Round of 16 all by himself. His 4 goals have been crucial, and he will be the biggest threat to Switzerland.
As for the Swiss, winger Xherdan Shaqiri is in fine form. His brilliantly taken hat-trick against Honduras will give three reasons for the Argentine defenders to worry.
Switzerland have the potential to play some impressive football, provided they do not suffer from big game nerves like they did against France. If they start the game on the front foot today, they could potentially create huge problems for Argentina. But will it be enough to curb Messi and co.? I don’t think so. Though I expect it to be a hard fought affair, I see Argentina coming through unscathed.