The Selecao face Switzerland in the Round OF 16 stage.
Portugal advanced to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round OF 16 stage as Group H leaders. Roberto Santos’ men sealed their berth in the knockouts stages with two consecutive wins. However, they suffered a defeat in their final group game against South Korea, going down 1-2 to the Asian side. Portugal will now play Switzerland in the last 16 on Wednesday.
South Korea’s win over Portugal, on the other hand, send them into the knockouts ahead of Uruguay. The Asian side qualified ahead of Uruguay on number of goals scored. Here are Portugal’s likely opponents in the World Cup knockout stages.
Round OF 16 – Switzerland
Switzerland are the only European team apart from France to qualify for the knockouts stages in each of the five major tournaments since 2014. The Rossocrociati won two of their three matches in the group stages to finish second in Group G and advance to the last 16.
Their only defeat came against five-time champions Brazil. Although Portugal will fancy their chances, given their squad strength and depth, Switzerland will not be any pushovers. Against Serbia they showed that their fighting attitude enables them to comeback from behind.
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Quarter-Final – Spain
Spain has been carrying the momentum from the Euro 2020 semi-final run, and UEFA Nations League runner-up this year, before the World Cup 2022. Without veterans Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos, etc to lead them, Luis Enrique has found leadership, quality and success in Rodri and Laporte, the Manchester City duo playing a formidable centre-back pairing at the back for Spain.
Dominant, with the ball, with the likes of Pedri and Gavi in the midfield, the old veteran and captain Busquets, dictating play, Spain have qualified as runners-up from Group E behind Japan. They’ll be a force to reckon with come to the knockout stages.
Quarter-Final – Morocco
Morocco topped a group consisting of World No. 2 Belgium, and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia. They finished as group leaders in style, finishing two points clear of second-placed Croatia. In the three matches they played in the group stages, Morocco beat Belgium and Canada and did not lose any.
Walid Regragui’s side are among the dark horses in FIFA World Cup 2022. They face Spain in the Round OF 16. On paper, Morocco are separated from La Roja by 14 positions. But if their group stage performances are anything to go by, Luis Enrique will be making a huge mistake by taking the Atlas Lions lightly.Their chances of beating Spain are slim, but Morocco have shown they can make most of every slim chance.
Semi-Final – France
The defending champions have looked like their usual selves against their Group D opponents Australia, who they trounced 4-1, in their opening game in Doha. They followed that up by coming back from behind to beat their recent hoodoo team Denmark, 2-1 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe brace, and in turn, becoming the first team to qualify for the knockout stage.
With the top spot more or less assured, France rotated their squad, having already lost a lot of key players to injuries such as Benzema, Hernandes etc, with one on the knockout stages, but ended up losing 1-0 to Tunisia. However, the defending champions will be a formidable opposition in the latter stages.
Semi-Final – England
The Euro 2020 finalists have begun their World Cup 2022 campaign, beating Iran 6-2 in the opener. They followed that up with a goalless draw against the USA and rounded off their group games with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Wales.
They finished the group stages at the top of the Table, in Group B and have looked like a team capable of winning the whole thing with players like Rashford, Foden, Bellingham, and Kane in red-hot form and their team athleticism and fitness in the tournament’s peak.