The knockout rounds of the 2023 Women’s World Cup commence with an all-European tie between Switzerland Women and Spain Women at Eden Park on Saturday morning (06.00).
Switzerland finished top of Group A with seven points to their name, while Spain finished runners-up in Group C behind Japan.
Switzerland manager Inka Grings could opt for consistency and name an unchanged lineup for Saturday’s last-16 tie.
Noelle Maritz is expected to operate in central defence alongside Julia Stierli, while Eseosa Aigbogun and Nadine Riesen will feature as the two full-backs.
Jorge Vilda’s charges, in contrast, will hope to have learned lessons from a painful 4-0 defeat by Japan in their final group game.
Spain will also be hoping that Ivana Andres is passed fit for Saturday’s contest after missing the defeat to Japan through injury.
Spain to win and under 2.5 goals @ 15/8
Spain may have to be patient in breaking down Switzerland, but I believe their quality will see them through here.
The key to Switzerland’s success so far has been their rock-solid backline, which kept three clean sheets across the group stages, and with Spain entering this game off the back of their heaviest World Cup defeat and worst lose for more than a decade, I can see La Roja approaching the game in a cautious manner, resulting in fewer goals.
Neither Spain nor Switzerland have gone further than the round of 16 in their previous Women’s World Cup campaigns, however, I believe Spain will right that wrong here.
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic to score anytime @ 11/2
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic is her country’s all-time leading scorer and top appearance-maker, bringing plenty of goals and experience to the table.
Crnogorcevic was a Spanish league and UEFA Women’s Champions League winner with Barcelona this season and will be a familiar foe for many in La Roja’s ranks.
She’s yet to score so far at this tournament, but I think she could open her account against Spain on Saturday morning.