2014 World Cup Round of 16: Argentina vs Switzerland

2014 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16
Argentina vs Switzerland

Arena Corinthians – São Paulo, Brazil
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Switzerland +600 / Argentina -200 / Draw +315
Point Line: Argentina -1 -115 / Switzerland +1 -105 
Total: over 2.5 -130 / under 2.5 +110
Odds to advance to quarterfinals: Argentina -425 / Switzerland +345
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

Argentina is favored over Switzerland in the round of 16 at the World Cup Tuesday.
Argentina is favored over Switzerland in the round of 16 at the World Cup Tuesday.

Argentina was one of the pre-tournament favorites in the 2014 World Cup, with the tournament in neighboring Brazil. While it is hard to complain about winning all three of the games in your group, Argentina has looked a little shaky at times. Now Argentina moves on to the Round of 16 where they will face a tough challenge against Switzerland Tuesday in Sao Paulo. The winner will face either Belgium or the United States in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Argentina has never lost to Switzerland in six previous matches with a 4-0-2 record. This is the first meeting in the World Cup between the teams since 1966. Argentina won the last meeting 3-1 in a friendly in 2012. They have outscored Switzerland 17-3 in the 6 matches.

Switzerland is making their 10th appearance in the World Cup, including 3 straight. They have made it as far as the quarterfinals three times but the last was in 1954. In 2010, Switzerland shocked eventual champion Spain 1-0 in their opening group game. However, a loss to Chile and a disappointing draw to Honduras kept the Swiss from advancing to the knockout phase.

Switzerland was placed into Group E along with France, Ecuador and Honduras. Switzerland opened group play with a thrilling 2-1 win over Ecuador when Haris Seferovic scored the game winner with 30 seconds left in stoppage time. Switzerland lsot to France 5-2 in the next match. Switzerland needed a win against Honduras to assure passage to the knockout round. The Swiss would win 3-0 on the strength of a hat trick from Xherdan Shaquiri. Switzerland finished second in the group with 6 points behind France with 7 points and ahead of Ecuador who had 4 points.

Argentina is making their 16th appearance in the World Cup and 11th straight. Argentina has won two World Cups but none since since 1986. They lost in the final in 1990, but haven’t advanced past the quarters since then. Argentina was crushed by Germany 4-0 in the quarterfinals in 2010.

Argentina was placed into Group F of the 2014 World Cup along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria. It isn’t clear where Argentina would be without world class striker Lionel Messi. He scored a goal to make the score 2-0 in the second half against Bosnia, and Argentina would hold on for the 2-1 win. He scored a goal in stoppage time against Iran to prevent an embarrassing scoreless draw. He also scored 2 first half goals against Nigeria in a match Argentina would win 3-2 to clinch first place in the group. Messi came into the World Cup with only one other goal in two previous appearances.

Switzerland is coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld. Switzerland will use a 4-5-1 formation. Defender Johan Djourou is doubtful with an injury. Reserve striker Mario Gavranovic tore his ACL in training and is obviously out. Shaquiri has the three goals to lead Switzerland in the World Cup. There is talk that Hitzfeld could bench keeper  Diego Benaglio in favor of young phenom Yann Sommer, but Hitzfeld has said he will stick with Benaglio. 

Switzerland is outscoring teams 7-6 in the World Cup. The Swiss have 5 open play and 2 set piece goals. Switzerland had 51 shots including 33 on target. They have completed 9 of 40 crosses and been called for offsides 4 times. Switzerland has 14 saves and 8 blocks. The Swiss have won 19 of 53 tackles. Switzerland has completed 1,219 passes.

Argentina is coached by Alejandro Sabella. Argentina will use a 4-4-2 formation. Messi has scored 4 of the 6 goals for Argentina. Marcos Rojo is only other Argentine player to score as Bosnia scored an own goal. Talented striker Sergio Aguero could miss the Switzerland match with a muscle strain. Ezequiel Lavezzi or Rodrico Palacio could start in place of Aguero. Keeper Sergio Romero has allowed 3 goals, and sometimes has to clean up the messes of an inconsistent backline.

Argentina is outscoring teams 6-3 in the World Cup. Argentina has 5 open play and 1 set piece goal. Argentina has 48 shots with 27 on target. Argentina has completed 12 of 71 crosses and has only been called offsides once. Argentina has 10 blocks and 9 saves. They have won 13 of 33 tackles. Argentina has completed 1,525 passes.

Argentina has given up a lot of shots, but Romero has been stellar keeping most of them out of the net. If not for Messi’s brilliant play so far, Argentina might not have made it out of their group even though they were far and away the most talented team. Switzerland has also had some defensive lapses most notably against France when they were torched for 5 goals. I think this could be a high scoring match and Argentina wins 3-2.

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