‘You cannot write off Cristiano’ – Ronaldo still scares Shaqiri as Portugal seek to dash Switzerland’s World Cup dreams
- Swiss preparing for last-16 tie
- Preparing to face an all-time great
- Will need to be at their best
WHAT HAPPENED? The Swiss are readying themselves for a last-16 showdown at the 2022 World Cup with star-studded rivals that boast the potential to go all the way in Qatar. Questions have been asked of whether Ronaldo – who now finds himself without a club after being released by Manchester United – is capable of inspiring another bid for major international honours, but Shaqiri admits it would be foolish to ignore the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
WHAT THEY SAID: Shaqiri has said of another meeting with an all-time great: “You cannot write off Cristiano, he is one of the best players in the world together with (Lionel) Messi. This guy can score any second, any minute, he has experience and everyone knows how important he is for Portugal and for his team.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While plenty of attention will be given to Ronaldo when Switzerland piece together their plans for the round of 16 tie, they are aware that Portugal boast a number of other match-winners within their ranks. Shaqiri, who now plays his club football in MLS for the Chicago Fire, added: “We have to know also the other players because it is not only Ronaldo, they have very good players, young players who can make a big difference and we need to give really a very good performance because it's knockout and anything can happen in the 95-100 minutes and we are looking forward to it.”
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WHAT NEXT? Switzerland are due to face Portugal on Monday, with the winners of that contest going on to face either Spain or Morocco in the quarter-finals.