Both teams obtained six points in the group stages. Portugal had the luxury of knowing they were through with one match left, so were able to rest some players ahead of their loss vs South Korea. Switzerland beat Serbia in their last group game to confirm qualification and were only one goal away from actually topping a group which contained Brazil.
These two teams now meet at the Lusail Iconic Stadium with a place in the Quarter Finals at stake.
Below, you’ll find a treasure trove of key stats from the teams’ World Cup qualification campaigns. Use the data below in conjunction with my Stats Pack Guide to construct stronger bet builders for the game.
Portugal made six changes for their final group game which they lost against South Korea 1-2. With qualification already assured it made sense to freshen things up, but they will almost certainly be back to full strength here with Ronaldo leading the line upfront and Rúben Dias returning to the backline. Left back Nuno Mendes is ruled out for the rest of the tournament due to injury and Danilo is rated doubtful here. Portugal should lineup in a 4-3-3 system.
Experienced Swiss keeper Yann Sommer missed their last group game due to illness but is hopeful to return here. Sommer, who has been linked this week with a move to Man Utd at the end of the season, is a key cog in the wheel for the Swiss and it would mean Gregor Kobel keeping the gloves if he didn’t recover in time.
Centre back Nico Elvedi also missed the Serbia game due to illness and could return into the XI. However, it will be a tough call for the manager to make considering Newcastle’s Fabian Schar is a more than able deputy.
Portugal have scored on average two goals per game at this World Cup which correlates quite closely to their xG of 1.68 per 90 mins. Their xGA numbers of 1.35 per game are reasonable but this defence only kept a clean sheet vs Uruguay. Portugal have conceded an average of 11 shots per game, which is probably higher than most would expect.
They’ve fired in an average number of shots, 12.30 in each match with only 4.00 SOT per 90 mins. Corner numbers have been down in Portugal fixtures, only obtaining 4.33 per game but also only conceding 3.33. They’ve drawn 2.67 cards per match from their opponents which is no surprise considering their flair and technical abilities.
Switzerland have an xG of 1.06 per 90 mins and converted that into 1.33 goals in each game. Defensively, they have overachieved by only conceding three total goals but their xGA per 90 mins is 1.53. The Swiss have on average faced more shots per match (11.00) than they’ve taken themselves (9.00) and they have converted exactly a third of their attempts on target.
It is noticeable that Switzerland matches have averaged a lot of cards, picking up 2.33 per game but also drawing 2.67 from their opponents. Their match against Cameroon contained 16 corners but there were only two total corners in the Serbia fixture, so they have very inconsistent corner numbers.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Rafael Leão has come off the bench in all three of Portugal’s matches and averages a massive 5.71 shots per 90 mins. He is one to watch when he inevitably gets the nod in the second half at some stage. Ronaldo averages 3.08 shots per 90 mins but only converted that into a disappointing 0.38 SOT. The two other significant Portuguese shooters are Bruno Fernandes (2.50) and the enigmatic João Félix (2.63). Félix is often wasteful and only averages 0.53 SOT per 90 mins.
The Swiss have not been known for their regular shooting in this tournament so far. No player has averaged more than 1.67 shots per 90 mins, with Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka leading them in this metric. He averages exactly one shot on target per 90 mins. Breel Embolo leads the Swiss scoring charts but has only fired 1.54 shots per 90 mins, albeit at a very clinical rate of 1.15 SOT. The trio of Shaqiri, Vargas and Akanji all average at least one shot per game, but the overall impression is don’t expect the Swiss to shoot particularly freely.
Player Goals and Assists
Bruno Fernandes leads Portugal for both goals and assists with two in each category. Ronaldo has one goal, and he joins Rafael Leão, João Félix and Ricardo Horta on the same number of goals for this competition. The only other assist provider for Portugal in this World Cup is left back Raphaël Guerreiro. He was the backup left back for Portugal in Qatar, but Nuno Mendes’ injury means that he is now the official starter in that position. He does have 12 career assists for the national team.
Breel Embolo is the top scorer for Switzerland at this World Cup. He has netted two goals and looks very dangerous upfront. Shaqiri and Freuler are the only other Swiss players to find the back of the net at this tournament so far. Assists have been shared out equally in this team with four individuals all supplying a goal, including Shaqiri and Vargas.
A total of five Portuguese players have picked up bookings in this World Cup, so are on a tightrope here. João Félix is by far the most serial fouler in this side averaging a huge 3.68 per 90 mins. He has done well to only obtain one card in the tournament. Both Ruben Neves and Danilo average exactly one foul per game. Rúben Dias and Bruno Fernandes each have one yellow card to their name but have only averaged 0.50 fouls per 90 mins.
Striker Breel Embolo has been a real handful for defenders in this tournament and on average has got fouled 3.46 times per 90 mins. Attacking midfielder Djibril Sow is another who has been fouled regularly, 2.17 times per match. Both Shaqiri and Xhaka have drawn at least one foul on average per 90 mins and will not be an easy matchup for any midfielders.
Matchups to watch
Rúben Dias vs Breel Embolo
João Félix vs Ruben Vargas & Xherdan Shaqiri
Ruben Neves vs Granit Xhaka
There are several Swiss players who have picked up bookings so far in this tournament. Seven individuals will all be very nervous and every player on this list has averaged at least 1.33 fouls per 90 mins. Granit Xhaka and Vargas are two obvious candidates to get stuck in, with Elvedi and Akanji also worth keeping an eye on. Right back Silvan Widmer has averaged 1.38 fouls per 90 mins and will likely have his hands full against the Portuguese wingers.
The elusive João Félix has been fouled more times than anyone else in the Portugal team at this World Cup at an average of 3.68 times per 90 mins. Both Bruno Fernandes and Danilo have been fouled more than twice per game, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo will probably use his experience to draw fouls and potentially cards from the opposition at some stage. He’s only been fouled 1.54 times per 90 mins but did only have two starts.
Matchups to watch
Granit Xhaka vs Bruno Fernandes
Silvan Widmer vs João Félix
Manuel Akanji vs Cristiano Ronaldo
Three of Portugal’s five top passers are defenders, and that’ll be a common sight in this department in my stats packs. That being said, Danilo Pereira only played against Ghana where the team had 62% possession and Guerreiro’s stats are somewhat skewed by just 70 minutes played per appearance.
Joao Cancelo’s inverted full back role is evident here, as he manages to distribute from a sort of defensive midfield position.
The only non defender that makes the cut here is no surprise in Granit Xhaka, who is a key distributor for both club and country.
Nico Elvedi didn’t play in the Swiss battle against Serbia, which was the most open game of the lot, hence why his stats leave his teammates in the dust.
Four player average over 50 passes per game, and it may be looking at that market for value today.