The last 16 ties at the World Cup have given us some fantastic games and the final two games go ahead on Tuesday, starting with Sweden against Switzerland. Whilst it’s not the most glamorous match up in the knockout round, it’s arguably the toughest to call with both sides having a real chance of progressing. Sweden qualified from their group ahead of Germany and their magnificent performance against Mexico sent a real statement.
Built on a solid defence, a good structure and a real work ethic, the Swedes shouldn’t have been underestimated heading to Russia as they beat Italy to get here but it still feels like they have been. Whether their adventure ends tomorrow or continues into next week, they are a tough side to beat and whoever plays them will not have an easy game.
However, the same thing can be said for the Swiss, who are the only side to score and stop Brazil so far this tournament, drawing with the favourites in their opener. They too are build on a solid backline and have a real work ethic, with Xherdan Shaqiri providing the magic in the final third.
Here we will give you Sweden vs Switzerland betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Sweden vs Switzerland prediction for the last 16 clash.
Our Sweden vs Switzerland Prediction: Sweden 0-1 Switzerland
Our Sweden vs Switzerland prediction tips is for an extremely tight game that will be defined by small margins and Switzerland’s extra quality, in the form of Shaqiri, could make the difference but it really could go either way.
Yet, it would be foolish for anyone to write off Sweden. They finished ahead of Holland just to make the play-offs, before knocking out Italy and finished above Germany in the group, so they are a quality outfit that all know their jobs. They play a direct style in a rigid 4-4-2 and are a a major threat off set-pieces.
Yet, they do lack that star quality that they’ve had over the years in a Henrik Larsson or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Whereas, the Swiss have a few players who can deliver magic moments. Granit Xhaka scored a screamer against Serbia and is capable of such strikes, and Shaqiri is a matchwinner for his country and often delivers on the big stage for his country. Additionally, they have real quality from the full-backs with Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez and that could be telling in a game between two pretty even sides.
Our recommended tip – Switzerland Draw No Bet
The reality is, we don’t expect this game to be one that the neutrals will remember and whoever scores the first goal will be tough to beat.
However, the odds reflect that and under 2.5 goals is a very short price that won’t appeal to many punters. Instead, Switzerland draw no bet is a decent bet. As mentioned, on paper their XI is better than Sweden’s although they know how to stop much better sides. Switzerland’s ability to deal with long-balls and set-pieces is potentially concerning but they should have more of the ball and territory and will hope to take advantage of that. As well as that, they have more variety in their attack. For example, Breel Embolo has great pace and is another option and he could be a fine substitute option as the game progresses.
The clash in Saint Petersburg will be the 28th meeting between the nations and things have been remarkably even over the years. Sweden have ten wins, the Swiss have ten wins whilst there have been seven draws in that time. Interestingly, this will be the first time they have played at a World Cup.
As for recent performances, Sweden have played very well so far. A narrow win over South Korea was well deserved before they suffered late, late heartbreak against Germany. Yet, they bounced back, showing great character to emphatically beat Mexico and top the group in what was effectively a play-off match. In all three games they have shown the same qualities and it will be more of the same in Saint Petersburg.
Similarly, the Swiss have impressed too. They deservedly held Brazil before a stunning comeback win against Serbia, inspired by Xhaka and Shaqiri, left them in a commanding position in the group. That meant they only needed a point against Costa Rica to qualify and that’s what they got.
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Players to watch – Emil Forsberg & Xherdan Shaqiri
The standout performers for Sweden this tournament have been their defenders and their main attacking threat has been from set-plays. To improve in general play they need to get Forsberg on the ball more. The RB Leipzig man is probably the only player in the team that has great ability on the ball and could unlock the opposition defence but so far he hasn’t really delivered. In a tight game though, he has the potential to make the difference and Sweden will want a big game from their talented youngster.
For Switzerland, they are another workmanlike side blessed with one outstanding creative player – Shaqiri. The Stoke man wasn’t always great for his club but has always stepped up for the national team. As a number ten he ripped Serbia apart and he will be the man the Swiss turn too tomorrow. He will have license to roam, will look to find space and against a 4-4-2 formation he will be hard to pick up and will look to be decisive once again.