Argentina will be up against Switzerland as the two teams meet at the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The match will be played at the Arena de Sao Paulo on Tuesday, July 1.
Argentina are one of only four teams who have come into the Round of 16 after remaining unbeaten in the Group stage. They rode some fantastic displays from their captain Lionel Messi as the beat Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria in Group F.
Switzerland, meanwhile, beat Honduras and Ecuador in convincing fashion to qualify for the second round. However, they suffered a 5-2 defeat against France in the second of three matches in Group E. Bayern Munich player Xherdan Shaqiri has been the standout player for the Swiss in their matches so far and will look to make an impression against Argentina.
Argentina have been very reliant on Messi to help them cross the line. The Barcelona star scored the deciding goal against Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opener. Messi also delivered the only goal of the match in injury time in Argentina’s match against Iran. Even in their last group fixture, after qualification to the next stage had already been guaranteed, Messi scored two brilliant goals against Nigeria as the Argentines qualified for the second round with maximum points.
The defence has been a major problem area for the Argentines. While they possess a better defence than they had a few summers ago, Ezequiel Garay and company do not inspire much confidence. Alessandro Sabella knows better than anyone else that this is an area that needs to be addressed.
The South Americans also need the rest of the attacking stars to score some goals. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, and Ezequiel Lavezzi are yet to open their accounts at the tournament and will be looking to getting in on the act as Argentina look to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Switzerland on the other hand will be looking to exploit Argentina’s weakness at the back. The likes of Shaqiri, Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic, and Gokhan Inler will try to break at pace against a shaky Argentine defence. The goals for the side has come from the midfield as well as the attack and the Europeans will be looking to continue in the same vein of form against Argentina.
The Swiss though, have problems of their own at the back. While they have a couple of fine fullbacks in the forms of Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez, Switzerland have major problems in central defence.
The likes of Johan Djourou and Steve von Bergen have hardly succeeded at club level and coming up against Messi and his teammates in Brazil will represent a huge test for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side.