ortugal boss Fernando Santos saw his decision to make six changes against South Korea backfire, although it didn’t cost the team who ended up as World Cup Group H winners.
Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the few who kept their places in the Portuguese side for their final group game, but was off the pitch by the time Heung-min Son inspired a Korean comeback from 1-0 down, to win 2-1 and qualify in second place.
Six points from the group, however, was enough for Portugal to book a last-16 tie against Switzerland, who held off a spirited Serbia side in their final Group G match, winning 3-2 to finish second behind Brazil.
Santos looks set to reinstate his first-choice players such as Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes, who has scored two goals and laid on two assists in this World Cup so far.
Man City pair Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias should also return, with Santos’ main dilemma being who to play at left-back, with Nuno Mendes ruled out of the tournament. He could select another United player, in Diogo Dalot, and switch Joao Cancelo to the left, or go with the experienced Rafael Guerreiro of Borussia Dortmund.
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For Swiss boss Murat Yakin, Xherdan Shaqiri may cause the biggest selection headache. The former Liverpool and Stoke forward was benched for their group clash with Brazil earlier in the tournament, but scored a fine goal on his return against Serbia.
Goalkeeper Yann Sommer and centre-back Nico Elvedi both missed the Serbia game due to illness, but could return at Lusail Stadium.
Predicted Portugal XI: D.Costa; Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Neves, Carvalho, B. Silva, Fernandes; Felix, Ronaldo.
Predicted Switzerland XI: Sommer; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; Embolo.