Argentina v Switzerland - World Cup R16 match preview

Argentina didn't play well despite being drawn in a very easy group and now they're meeting the toughest opposition yet - Ottmar Hitzfeld and his high-tempo Swiss team. Lionel Messi has been the saviour of Argentina in their first two matches and covered up for the disappointing performances of his team and himself, and the question is can this one-man band take care of an organized team such as Switzerland.

No other player than Messi managed to do anything for Argentina so far. Kun Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and all the others didn't get any glory despite playing against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria. And that should sound the alarm, Argentina aren't a strong side but are a side with one fantastic player who is not making this team better but is taking the ball and scoring the crucial goals when the push comes to shove. But other than his goals which covered up for the poor performance of Gauchos, Messi didn't do much else and looked jaded. Other players, such as Neymar or Robben, have done much more. But Argentina are here and if they progress past Switzerland they will also have a beatable opponent in the quarter-finals, Belgium or USA. As it turns out, Argentina have the best knockout stage schedule of all teams and won't meat any really strong teams right until the semi-finals.

Switzerland have suffered an embarassing defeat from France 2-5 but other than that they have played well and, most notably, they have scored at least twice in every match they've played so far. This is a testament to their good organization as Switzerland are probably the least creative team in this tournament, and they're still managing to find the net.

Switzerland are playing a high-tempo game and can run all day, which should create a lot of problems to the Gauchos and their inadequate midfield. So far all the high-tempo teams have fared well in this tournament, though the two best ones, Chile and Mexico, exited the tournament against Brazil and Netherlands. Switzerland is in the same situation, they're the underdog trying to win with pure energy and pace.

The match is played in Sao Paulo, and Jonas Eriksson from Sweden is the referee.