Two of the less glamorous sides meet in Saint Peterburg on Tuesday, and with a quarter final against England or Colombia to come, the winner of this one has a big chance to go deep into the World Cup.
The bookies are struggling to separate the two sides, with Sweden even-money to qualify for the last eight with Coral, and Switzerland are a touch shorter to make it through at 4/5. Both sides have been solid during the course of the tournament; so don’t expect things to change with such huge rewards at stake. A tight game with under 1.5 goals looks a steal at 11/8 with William Hill.
If that’s not tight enough for you then I’ll point you in the direction of the corner markets for some tense potential bets. Sweden have averaged four corners per game in their three group games, with the Swiss averaging just one more over the course of Group E. Based on those averages, I’m going to plump for less than ten corners at 8/15, and Switzerland to take more corner kicks at 17/20, both with William Hill.
With a tight game forecasted between two sides that have been built on a solid defence, we’ve got to be looking at a draw at half time as both teams look to feel each other out in the opening 45 minutes. A draw at the interval looks a certainty at 10/11 with Betfair.
An unlikely source of goals for the Swedes has been centre back Andreas Granqvist, with the 33 year-old defender scoring two penalties during the group stages. If you reckon the record-high number of spot kicks is going to rise even further, then the veteran could be a very lucrative anytime goal scorer bet at 7/1 with Paddy Power.
With so much to lose for either side, it’s hard to see Sweden or Switzerland deviating from a defence-first approach that will probably result in a tense affair that will be by-no means a classic for the neutral. This one to go into extra-time is a huge 19/10 with Coral, and if it goes all the way to penalties, my gut says Sweden will be the ones to make it through. For a cheeky interest bet, I’m going for the Swedish victory on penalties at a tasty 15/2 with Paddy Power.