A successful start to their Qatar 2022 campaign left Portugal needing just a point in the final round of group matches to be certain of finishing first, and qualification for the knockout stages had already been assured.
Despite suffering their first setback, Uruguay’s victory over Ghana sealed Portugal’s progress as Group H top dogs, and they now seek to successfully negotiate the last 16 for the first time since 2006, when they ultimately finished fourth in Germany.
Having seen his side start their World Cup by beating Ghana 3-2 and then adding a 2-0 win against Uruguay last Monday, when Bruno Fernandes found the net twice, Euro 2016 winner Santos can feasibly aim to break new ground this winter.
A Eusebio-inspired Portugal finished third at the 1966 World Cup, but for all their success at youth level the Iberian nation has never made it to a senior global final.
When they last met their Swiss counterparts in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year, there were two very different outcomes in the space of a few days: Portugal were comprehensive 4-0 winners in Lisbon – with Ronaldo bagging a first-half brace – before Switzerland then turned the tables with a 1-0 victory in Geneva
Only given his first Benfica start in August, 19-year-old defender Antonio Silva was handed his competitive debut against South Korea alongside veteran campaigner Pepe – a man 20 years his senior.
The youngest Portuguese player to feature at the World Cup may make way, though, as Ruben Dias returns to the back four; Diogo Dalot made a big impression on his first World Cup start so could be retained.
Though captain Cristiano Ronaldo was one of three players replaced after 65 minutes on Friday, the Selecao’s record goalscorer starts up front once again, with Andre Silva and another Benfica prospect, Goncalo Ramos, consigned to the bench.
Switzerland will be hoping stalwart goalkeeper Yann Sommer can return to bolster their back line at Lusail Stadium, after missing their final Group G match due to illness.
There is every chance that Murat Yakin’s side will be otherwise unchanged, as Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler provide the midfield screen ahead of a well-drilled defence and Breel Embolo leads the line up front.
Ruben Vargas and Xherdan Shaqiri provide support from out wide, though both Christian Fassnacht and Renato Steffen offer alternatives on either flank.
Possible starting lineup:
Data will be available at kick off time or sooner.
Portugal = 53.7%
Draw = 21.6%
Switzerland = 24.7%
Portugal 2-1 Switzerland
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