This is one of three all-European clashes and by far the most difficult to predict. Switzerland and Sweden were both hit and miss in the group stages, and both have been eliminated in the Round of 16 on more occasions than they would care to remember in recent times. One team will move on to a quarter-final berth in what is the more open side of the draw, but which team will it be?
Sweden have the momentum. After a scratchy 1-0 win over Korea they were unlucky to drop all three points against a German side who they had kept out for most of the game. Then out of nowhere, Sweden shocked Mexico with a brilliant display that assured they would finish in top spot and avoid facing Brazil in this round. After such a good performance, it would be a shame to bow out against the Swiss.
Yet Switzerland are a top-ten side these days and showed what they are capable of with a come-from-behind draw against Brazil and a huge win over Serbia in a game where they only led for three minutes. They were less impressive in their draw with Costa Rica, although the fact that they only needed a draw in that clash makes it hard to judge their performance.
History shows that it is dead even between the Swiss and Swedes. The pair have shared ten wins and ten losses throughout history, although have not played a match against each other since 2002. In competitive matches, Sweden have the edge with four wins to three, while they have shared the points twice.
The odds indicate that this match will be close. All three options in the head to head market are almost identical – Switzerland is the slight favourite at +165, while Sweden is offering +192. The draw is extremely low at +193, and there is a sense that this could be one of the first matches of the Round of 16 to be decided by penalties.
We tend to agree that the match will finish level after 90 minutes, so the draw is the correct option to pick in the head to head market. Both teams are defensive units, so a 0-0 isn’t out of the question, although there has only been one instance of 0-0 in the group stages and with VAR in use there’s much less chance of a scoreless match.
Go for 1-1 here, and keep the penalty shootout in mind, it could go either way.