Drawn up in a ferocious Group G, Switzerland had slim chances of making it out of the group stage. However, the European side managed to finish as runners-up after winning against Cameroon and Serbia. For the past two decades, Switzerland has been on a slow and steady rise in World football. Since the 2006 tournament, Switzerland has only lost three of their 15 matches in the World Cup group stages and has qualified for the knockout stages in all but one of these five tournaments; they were eliminated only in 2010. If you want to know about Cameroon and Ghana Do Not Qualify, click here.
They Matched Up Against Portugal
Credits: NDTV Sports
In 2018, Switzerland made it to the round of 16, where Sweden, led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, eliminated them. In Qatar, however, they are set to play a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal. Despite winning their group, the Portuguese have shown signs of vulnerability more than once.
Cristiano Ronaldo has not been in his best form as Portugal has needed him so far, but players like Bruno Fernandes and Rafael Leão have stepped up in different roles to fill the gaps. Unfortunately, Portugal’s backline has not been as good as expected, and it caused them problems against South Korea. Though that result did not affect them, as they still finished on top of the group, Switzerland will undoubtedly be a tough test.
Switzerland, led by captain Granit Xhaka, looks well-balanced despite lacking a seasoned super-star in their squad.
Can the Portuguese Win It All?
Portugal has appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on seven occasions but is yet to win it. Their best run was in 2006, when they were eliminated in the semi-finals. However, Portugal’s star Cristiano Ronaldo aims for glory at the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
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This would give Cristiano an edge over lifetime rival Lionel Messi in the greatest player of all time debate. Ronaldo, perhaps the most famous soccer player in the world, has accomplished everything there is to do in soccer except win a World Cup, same as his Argentine counterpart, Messi. Lionel is currently in good form, having scored in his last match against Mexico and qualifying for the round of 16.
In what could be the twilight of his career, At 37 years old, this is likely his last shot to bring the trophy home to Portugal, and the team around him is stacked. Yet Portugal has underachieved lately. So with their most challenging tasks yet still ahead of them, will Portugal get a firm grip on themselves and give Ronaldo a partying gift towards the end of his career?