World Cup Round of 16: Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal face Switzerland for a place in the quarterfinals



CNN

The knockout stages are filled with extra tension this tournament for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo as he looks to win football’s biggest trophy with his country in what is likely to be his last ever World Cup.

His team will enter the Lucille Stadium as slight favorites against Switzerland in their round of 16 match, but the Portuguese have already suffered a surprise defeat in Qatar.

Portugal appeared to be cruising through the group stages, defeating Ghana and Uruguay to confirm a place in the knockout stages with a match to spare but succumbed to a shock defeat against South Korea in the final group stage match, after Hwang Hee-chan scored a 91 minute winner from a Son Heung-min pass.

Despite this, Portugal will be buoyed by the expected return of midfielder Otávio who has missed the last two games with a thigh injury as well as star defender Rúben Dias who was rested against the Taeuk Warriors.

Switzerland, meanwhile, navigated a tough group with victories over Cameroon and Serbia to see them through to the knockout stages despite a loss to Brazil.

The last time the two sides met was in the Nations League in June when Portugal dismantled Switzerland 4-0 in Lisbon. However, Switzerland then recovered to win the return fixture 1-0 a week later.

“For me, it will be completely different because it is not a friendly game. This is not a League of Nations – the pressure is high, and now, it is important how the players deal with the pressure,” Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri said on Sunday , according to Reuters.

Switzerland celebrates defeating Serbia 3-2 and qualifying for the knockout stages.

“We need a special performance. Portugal to be honest, they are a good team and for me also the favorite in this game, but we know our qualities as well. We will try to have a good, special performance and try to cause them a Lot of problem in the game.

“The key is really to have special performance from the whole team because, you know, we are Switzerland, we have no Cristianos in our team,” Shaqiri said.

Ronaldo, who has already become the first male player to score in five World Cups this tournament, will be looking to equal the Portuguese record of nine World Cup goals held by football great Eusebio.

Like Portugal, Spain enters its round of 16 match against Morocco straight off the back of a shock defeat to an Asian nation – a 2-1 loss to Japan – in the group stages.

The two sides have played each other three times since 1961, but their rivalry stretches beyond football results and into their shared history that has often been marked by conflict.

on the football field, La Roja Started the tournament with a dominant, comprehensive 7-0 victory over Costa Rica, but it fought to a 1-1 draw with Germany and lost to Japan, finally qualifying for the knockout stages in an extraordinary final to Group E.

Spain Álvaro Morata jumps to head the ball.

“I am not happy at all. Yes, we have qualified, I would like to win this game. It was impossible because in five minutes, Japan scored two goals… We were away, we were dismantled,” head coach Luis Enrique said after the loss to Japan, according to Reuters.

In a strange twist of fate, however, the defeat meant Spain qualified as group runners-up and arguably finished with an easier potential route to the semi-finals, avoiding 2018 finalist Croatia in the round of 16 and a possible quarter-final against five-time champions Brazil.

Morocco, however, have impressed so far in the World Cup, holding Croatia to a scoreless draw, defeating Canada and, most importantly, defeating Belgium – the No. 2 ranked side in the world.

Morocco stunned Belgium 2-0.

The results ensured that it progressed to the round of 16 for the first time since 1986, while its head coach Walid Regragui became the first Arab coach to lead a team to the knockout stages.

“We said we will give everything we have to get out of the group stages,” said Regragui, according to the Guardian. “We can tick that box now. So why not aim for the sky?

“We need to change and we need to change our mentality. We will not stop here. We have a lot of respect for all the different opponents, but we will be a very difficult team to beat.

Morocco vs. Spain: 10:00 a.m. ET at the Education City Stadium

Portugal vs. Switzerland: 2 p.m. ET at Lusail Stadium

US: Fox Sports

UK: BBC or ITV

Australia: SBS

Brazil: SportTV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa: SABC

Source

Also Read :  World Cup standings, bracket 2022: Team rankings, schedule, FIFA World Cup group table, favorites, tiebreakers

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