WWC 2015 Round of 16: Switzerland

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Much like the country’s famous knife, you never know what you’re going to get when you start pulling apart Switzerland. But The Football Sack is here to help with our team preview before they take on host nation Canada in the Round of 16.

It’s hard to read the Swiss’ form after the group stage, owing to a narrow loss to 2011 champions Japan, the formidable destruction of hapless Ecuador and then the sluggish second-half loss to the Cameroonians. There have been moments of brilliance, namely the nine goal second-half effort against the Ecuadorians, mixed in with some rather ordinary showings. That said, if on their game the Swiss can prove to be a handful for any team.

They’ll beat Canada because…
There is no pressure not to. Well, there’s some, but not nearly as much as what there is for the hosts who will have 50 000 screaming Canucks expecting fireworks. Furthermore, it’s hard to argue with the evidence from their supreme qualifying performance, conceding just one goal in a campaign that failed to produce a single defeat. Up front in particular they have the quality to find the goals regularly and if they can avoid falling into the trap of complacency that has sometimes been on show they may just be able to disappoint the partisan home crowd.
They’ll be knocked out by Canada because…
The Canadians are at home, it’s their World Cup, and this is the biggest football match to be played in the country probably ever. If that doesn’t get them going, nothing will. What Canada needs to do to avoid defeat is to maintain the early momentum they always seem to generate. If they do that, the Swiss might be in a bit of strife.
Can they win the World Cup?
Perhaps, but it’ll take something quite special to do so. As one of the three remaining debutants at the tournament big-game experience is lacking in this squad, but the emphatic statement against Ecuador in the second half makes it clear that the Swiss can, on their day, be a force not to be taken lightly. Will they produce that kind of display for four games in a row? It’s doubtful, but not out of the questions.
Best moment of the World Cup so far?
Scoring none goals in a half is a football team’s dream, regardless of the opposition, and against Ecuador in the group stage Switzerland did exactly that. Two second half hat-tricks – one to Fabienne Humm and the other to Ramona Bachmann – were the pinnacle of an outstanding effort that put all the other teams on notice.  It was 45 minutes of scintillating football, which won’t be forget by the Swiss or their foes alike.
Key player
Ramona Bachmann is the driving force for Swiss football at the moment, and in addition to her much celebrated hat-trick she caused plenty of problems for Japan. If Canada gets complacent – a trait they have displayed a few times so far – expect the pacey 24-year-old to pounce.
Injuries and suspensions
Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. 

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