Preview: Switzerland vs. Portugal

Preview: Switzerland vs. Portugal

Top meets bottom in Sunday’s League A Group 2 UEFA Nations League showdown, as a pointless Switzerland side welcome group leaders Portugal to Geneva.

The hosts fell to a 1-0 defeat to Spain on Thursday night, while Fernando Santos’s side eased to a 2-0 success over the Czech Republic.

Switzerland’s chances of progressing to the Nations League Finals were always considered to be remote, but a dissatisfactory set of results this weekend could seal their fate in that regard after a damaging start to the new cycle.

Returning to home comforts after away defeats to the Czech Republic and Portugal, Switzerland hosted Spain on Thursday night but once again flattered to deceive on the attacking front, as Pablo Sarabia’s effort settled the contest in La Roja’s favour.

Murat Yakin’s men unsurprisingly sit rock bottom of the rankings as one of only two sides across the four League A groups yet to pick up a point – the other being Wales, who have played a game fewer – and they cannot rise any higher before the month is up.

Switzerland have been ever-presents in League A since the Nations League came about but are surely fearing for their safety in the top tier now, and Yakin’s side could have done without this hit to the confidence before they test their mettle in Qatar.

It is now four defeats and a draw in their last five matches for the Rossocrociati, who have only won one of their last five Nations League games on home soil and could desperately use a summer of rest and recovery before September’s fixtures roll around.

With one foot already in the finals of the 2022-23 Nations League, Portugal can steer further clear of Iberian counterparts Spain at the top of the rankings this week and were in no mood to suffer any scares against a resilient Czech Republic side last time out.

First-half strikes from Goncalo Guedes and Joao Cancelo put the tie to bed as the Selecao continue to ramp up preparations for the 2022 World Cup, although coach Fernando Santos was frustrated not to see his side make their dominance count for more goals in midweek.

Nevertheless, the Selecao hold a two-point lead over Spain at the top of the rankings, although La Roja will expect to make it past the Czechs on their own turf, so the onus is on Portugal to avoid a shock result against the section’s resident whipping boys.

While Switzerland’s most recent five games have seen them post four defeats and a draw, Portugal have instead registered four wins and one stalemate, and Santos’s side have not suffered a single defeat away from home in the Nations League since its inception.

Cristiano Ronaldo was at the double as Portugal thumped Switzerland 4-0 only a week ago, which marked a third win on the bounce for the Selecao in this fixture, although their most recent trip to Swiss turf ended in a 2-0 loss during a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Switzerland Nations League form:
LLL
Switzerland form (all competitions):
WLDLLL
Portugal Nations League form:
DWW
Portugal form (all competitions):
LWWDWW

We say: Switzerland 1-2 Portugal
Switzerland have seemed devoid of ideas on the attacking front for large periods of their Nations League campaign so far, but the prospect of sweeping Portugal changes could play into the hands of Yakin’s side in front of the home crowd.

Then again, Portugal need no lessons in finding the back of the net themselves, even if Santos has made a big call regarding Ronaldo, and the Selecao should retain their healthy lead at the top before jetting off for their well-earned holidays

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