Argentina v Switzerland - Match Preview: City star missing

Sergio Aguero - Suisse vs Argentina

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is unavailable for Argentina in their last 16 clash with Switzerland in Sao Paulo.

To be played on Tuesday 1st July 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Arena de São Paulo, São Paulo.

Odds: Argentina 4/9, Draw 7/2, Switzerland 6/1

Preview & injury news

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella will be unavailable to call upon Sergio Aguero in their last 16 clash with Switzerland, with their striker missing due to a leg injury picked up during their 3-2 win over Nigeria in their last of their Group F matches. They are not short of attacking talent though, and Sabella is likely to replace Aguero with PSG star Ezequiel Lavezzi in the starting line-up. Lavezzi will start alongside Lionel Messi, and the Barcelona forward has been brilliant so far in the tournament, scoring four goals in their three matches and helping his country to three wins. Messi has been one of the stars of the tournament and the many Albiceleste fans in Brazil will be hoping his fine form continues into the knockout stages. 

Switzerland go into this last 16 match off the back of a mixed group E campaign. Their 5-2 defeat to France, was coupled with a late 2-1 win over Ecuador and comfortable 3-0 win over Honduras in their last group game to secure qualification. That 3-0 win over Honduras included a hat-trick from star man Xherdan Shaqiri, and Switzerland will be desperate he can have the same impact on an Argentina defence that looks vulnerable at times. In saying that, Shaqiri was missing during their first two matches, and they will need him at his best if they are to surprise the South Americans in this match. Experienced Swiss manager Ottmar Hitzfeld has no injury concerns in this squad going into this match, and the country ranked sixth in the world will need to be at their best if they are to surprise an in-form Argentina team.

Key stats

Argentina have won only 3 of their last 10 World Cup matches against a European team (D4, L3).

The Swiss have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last 10 World Cup finals matches.

This will be the seventh international meeting between Argentina and Switzerland. Argentina are unbeaten in their previous six (W4 D2)

5 players to watch

Lionel Messi - Messi has been in unstoppable form so far in this World Cup. He has scored in all three of Argentina's matches so far, with a total of four goals, and will be looking to continue his fine form against a Switzerland defence that conceded five goals in their defeat to France earlier in the tournament.

Xherdan Shaqiri - The Bayern Munich winger struggles to get into the starting line-up at his club, but his performance against Honduras was one of the best in the tournament by a player so far. He didn't make much of an impact against Ecuador and France though, showing his inconsistency, but he is superb when at his best.

Javier Mascherano - The combative midfielder is the one that allows the many attacking players in Argentina's team the freedom to not have to worry about defending. He covers so much of the ground and wins the ball, before giving it quickly to the attacking players. his work is vital if Argentina are to succeed in this tournament.

Gokhan Inler - Inler is a more all rounded midfielder than Mascherano. The Napoli midfielder is good at defending and attacking form midfield, and with Switzerland expected to play on the counter-attack in Sao Paulo, he will need to protect his defence and be disciplined in deciding when to go forward. A brilliant midfielder though.

Angel Di Maria - With Aguero missing because of a leg injury, Di Maria will need to make a greater impact than he has done so far in the tournament. He has a number of chances in all three of their group games, but struggled with the final ball. He will need to raise his game ad take the pressure off of Messi's shoulders, he certainly has the ability to do so.

Last time they met

Switzerland 1-3 Argentina (Shaqiri 49; Messi 22, 88, 91) 29th February 2012. Bern, Switzerland.

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