World Cup round of 16: Portugal vs. Switzerland prediction, preview and team news

Both nations are aiming to end a long wait for a quarter-final spot

Portugal stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes
Portugal stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes
(Image credit: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

An intriguing tie between two European nations will complete the round of 16 at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar. Portugal came into the knockouts having won group H, but were given a shock in their final game, losing 2-1 to South Korea. Group G runners-up Switzerland qualified after beating Serbia 3-2 last time out.

Much of the focus for Portugal will be on their captain and talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. At 37-years-old, the forward made history in Qatar by becoming the first male player to score in five different World Cup tournaments. With 118 goals in 194 games for his country, Ronaldo will be looking to extend his record as the all-time top goalscorer in men’s international football.

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos said the defeat to South Korea was a “warning” for his side and they need to maintain their level of play. “We cannot relax because every team is dangerous in this World Cup,” he said.

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Switzerland also rely on their experienced campaigners, with players such as goalkeeper Yann Sommer (33), midfielder Granit Xhaka (30) and playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri (31) all aiming to help their nation extend their time in Qatar.

The Swiss will be aware that they are “not favourites” against Portugal in the last 16, said Ben Spratt on Opta Analyst. However, they also know “that tag has not meant a great deal” at this World Cup. Murat Yakin, Switzerland’s head coach, agrees that Portugal are the favourites for Tuesday’s clash, but “if we start well” and “our tactics work” then “anything is possible”, he said.

Both teams are out to “banish remarkable World Cup records”, said Marc Mayo in the London Evening Standard. Portugal have only once qualified for the last eight of the tournament since 1966, when they finished fourth in 2006. While Switzerland “are on an even longer wait”. Their last World Cup quarter-final appearance came in 1958.

The winners of this last-16 tie will face Morocco or Spain next.

Remo Freuler scored Switzerland’s winner against Serbia

Remo Freuler scored Switzerland’s winner against Serbia
(Image credit: Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images)

Match facts

  • Who: Portugal vs. Switzerland
  • What: Fifa World Cup round of 16
  • When: Tuesday 6 December 2022
  • Where: Lusail Stadium
  • Kick-off time: 7pm (all times GMT)

How to watch on TV in the UK

Tuesday’s last-16 clash between Portugal and Switzerland will be shown live in the UK on ITV and ITVX. Coverage begins at 6.15pm and the match kicks off at 7pm.

Team news

Nuno Mendes left the pitch in tears in the second group game against Uruguay. After suffering a thigh injury, the 20-year-old left-back has been ruled out of the tournament. Diogo Dalot and Raphael Guerreiro are both in contention to start in defence. Otavio and Danilo Pereira remain injury doubts, but Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes should return after being rested for the match with South Korea.

Experienced goalkeeper Sommer and centre-back Nico Elvedi missed Switzerland’s 3-2 win over Serbia because of illness. Swiss boss Yakin will be hopeful that the duo will return for the round of 16.

Possible starting XIs

  • Portugal: Diogo Costa, João Cancelo, Rúben Dias, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ruben Neves, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Switzerland: Yann Sommer, Silvan Widmer, Nico Elvedi, Manuel Akanji, Ricardo Rodriguez, Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka, Mohameth Sow, Ruben Vargas, Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo


This will be a “close” match and I have a feeling Cristiano Ronaldo “will have a big say in the outcome” – although “not necessarily in a positive way”, said Chris Sutton on BBC Sport. It’s a “risk versus reward scenario” for Portugal if they pick their captain, because his “influence on the team is massive”, but they “might have a better starter who should be in the side”. If this tie goes the distance, “how long should he stay on the pitch?”. Prediction: Portugal 1 Switzerland 1 – Switzerland to win on penalties after extra-time, “Ronaldo to miss the decisive spot-kick”.

The Swiss squad is “well versed in the ebbs and flows of knockout football” and will “surely fancy their chances” on Tuesday, said Jonathan O’Shea on SportsMole. But with an “abundance of attacking talent”, Portugal “rarely have a problem with scoring”. However, “protecting a lead” is often another matter. The “big-game nous” of Pepe, Ronaldo and Co should “just see them over the line”. Prediction: Portugal 2 Switzerland 1 (after extra time).

Having beaten France in the round of 16 at Euro 2020, Switzerland are “capable of springing a few surprises”, said Shambhu Ajith on SportsKeeda. But with “several match-winners in their squad”, Portugal will be a “tough proposition for any side”. We expect Portugal to seal this one in normal time. Prediction: Portugal 2 Switzerland 1.

As they proved with their shock win over France at last year’s Euros, Switzerland are “more than capable of punishing” Portugal, if the Portuguese “fail to turn up”, said Marc Mayo in the London Evening Standard. “This one might be going all the way.” Prediction: Portugal 1 Switzerland 1, Portugal to win on penalties.

In what may well be an “attritional contest”, it may be tight “even if it goes to penalties”, as both nations “possess specialist goalkeepers in that area”, said Grey Whitebloom on “Theoretically”, the “technical excellence” of Portugal’s squad “should give them the edge”, but it could go “either way”. Prediction: Portugal 1 Switzerland 1, Portugal win on penalties.

Portugal are the favourites, “given a 51.5% chance of winning by the supercomputer”, said Ben Spratt on Opta Analyst. They have only drawn one World Cup knockout game, going on to beat England on penalties in 2006, but “that outcome is rated at 26.8%”. Switzerland beat Portugal 1-0 in the Nations League in June, and a repeat of that success is given a “21.7% chance”.

The stadium

Located nine miles north of Doha, the 80,000-capacity Lusail Stadium is hosting ten matches at the 2022 Fifa World Cup, including the final on 18 December. As well as the showpiece fixture and six group games, the stadium will also host this round of 16 tie, one quarter-final and one semi-final.



  • Head coach: Fernando Santos
  • Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • One to watch: Ruben Dias
  • Goalkeepers: Diogo Costa (Porto), Rui Patricio (AS Roma), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Pepe (Porto), Danilo Pereira (Paris St-Germain), Antonio Silva (Benfica)
  • Midfielders: William Carvalho (Real Betis), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Mario (Benfica), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Otavio (Porto), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Vitinha (Paris St-Germain)
  • Forwards: Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Ricardo Horta (SC Braga), Rafael Leao (AC Milan), Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Andre Silva (RB Leipzig)
  • Injured and out of the World Cup: Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain)


  • Head coach: Murat Yakin
  • Key player: Granit Xhaka
  • One to watch: Noah Okafor
  • Goalkeepers: Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Kohn (Red Bull Salzburg), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach)
  • Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Eray Comert (Valencia), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Sylvan Widmer (Mainz 05)
  • Midfielders: Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz 05), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Noah Okafor (Red Bull Salzburg), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea)
  • Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monaco), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray), Reuben Vargas (FC Augsburg)

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.