Sweden v Switzerland could be closest knockout game yet
Winner will take on England or Colombia
The round of 16 draws to a close today with the final two matches. And the first of them is arguably the most intriguing of them all.
One of Sweden or Switzerland will have a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Both sides boast similar attributes, so it should be a fascinating encounter in Saint Petersburg.
Here, the Coral News Team discuss the main talking points for this afternoon’s clash…
A cagey contest looms
Sweden and Switzerland have plenty of World Cup pedigree, so there shouldn’t be too many nerves this afternoon.
Equally, the European duo have plenty of tactical nous and discipline. They rarely give up goals easily.
But conversely they lack the out-and-out pace of France or Belgium, or the vast creative outlets of Brazil or England.
All of this will likely lead both sides to take it cautiously this afternoon. The draw is 19/10, while 5/6 says the first-half is all-square. There’s 11/2 about 0-0, while 24/5 says the final score at 90 minutes is 1-1.
Will Shaqiri shine for Switzerland again?
In Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland do boast one player who can conjure something out of nothing.
The diminutive forward bagged a vital last-minute winner against Serbia, in what was his fifth goal in a major tournament.
Shaqiri flourishes when allowed time and space to float in-between opponents’ defence and midfield. If Sweden don’t keep tabs on him, they could be punished again. Coral traders go 6/1 about Shaqiri scoring first, and 5/2 anytime.
But as is his usual way, there’s 10/1 about the 26-year-old pinging another one in from outside the box.
VAR to have a say?
Belgium’s 3-2 win over Japan may have been a thriller, but it was notable for the lack of VAR-based decisions.
But of Sweden’s five goals in Russia, two have been penalties and the other an own goal. Their 1-0 win over South Korea came courtesy of VAR, while the assistant referees turned down another claim against Mexico.
With such a closely matched contest in store, VAR could have a crucial say. There’s 13/8 about VAR overturning any referee decision today, while 5/1 says the referee’s initial decision is overturned and VAR award a penalty.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing