World Cup 2014 last 16 preview: Argentina v Switzerland
The last meeting between Argentina (odds-on at 1/2 for victory in 90 minutes) and Switzerland (7/1) finished 3-1 to the South Americans in 2012, with a certain Lionel Messi hitting a hat-trick that day. Back the Barcelona superstar to get a treble again at 7/1, while his side are 12/1 chances to record that scoreline once more.
Messi managed to net a double in his country’s final group game against Nigeria, and has got goals in all his World Cup games at these finals so far, with his total now being at four. He is 7/4 to bag a brace or better again in normal time, and is favourite to be top tournament scorer at 9/4.
Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri also netted in that last encounter, and the hat-trick hero against Honduras is a great chance at 7/2 to get a goal anytime here. He is a long shot at 66/1 to somehow get another treble again, though.
Argentina (odds-on 2/9 to qualify for the quarter-finals) and Switzerland (10/3), ranked fifth and sixth in the FIFA rankings respectively, have met each other six times before, with the South Americans winning four and drawing twice. A tie again in 90 minutes is priced at 3/1.
Alejandro Sabella’s side have won all their matches in Brazil so far, although none of them convincingly but, if you fancy them to ride their luck all the way and lift their third World Cup, back them at 4/1 (joint-second favourites).
Switzerland, meanwhile, who have not reached the quarter-finals since they hosted the competition in 1954, are 100/1 chances to go all the way.
Their national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will be stepping down after the finals, and seems to be calm in approach to this fixture. “We are the clear outsiders but we have nothing to lose and much to gain,” the German said. “In one game, anything is possible.”
Swiss number one Diego Benaglio hopes that his country will get the backing form Argentina’s arch rivals Brazil. “I think we will definitely have the support of the Brazilian fans in the stadium. You can feel the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina here,” he stated.
The keeper added: “We are preparing just as we do for any other game. However, it’s clear that it will be difficult to completely take Messi out of the game.”
In terms of being absent, forwards Sergio Aguero of Argentina and Switzerland’s Mario Gavranovic miss this game through injury, with the latter ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after tearing his cruciate ligament in training.
Ezequiel Lavezzi is set to step in for the Manchester City attacker, and he is priced at 5/4 to score anytime in 90 minutes, or 5/1 to net first.