Reaching the expanded knockout phase will have been a Euro 2016 prerequisite for Switzerland and Poland but, despite accomplishing their respective missions, both can feel somewhat underwhelmed with their group-stage performance.
The Swiss mustered just one win in a relatively straightforward group, and even then it was barely deserved against ten-man Albania, while their last-16 foes, who boast one of the best number nines in world football, have looked desperately lacking in firepower.
Two goals are the sum total of Poland’s attacking exploits thus far, with Robert Lewandowski in particular playing some way short of the standard that enabled to register 42 times across all competitions for Bayern Munich last term.
As modest as the Poles’ tally is, it’s one Switzerland have been unable to best, which promises an uneventful afternoon in St-Etienne.
Still, while both protagonists in the first knockout match of the tournament have struggled in the final third, one is guaranteed a quarter-final berth against a beatable adversary in Croatia or Portugal.
To get though, extra-time might well be required.
Win, Lose or Draw?
Neither team have proved adept defence dismantlers thus far, nor have they been especially efficient when they’ve fashioned chances either.
Of all the teams remaining in the tournament, only Slovakia have hit the target on fewer occasions than Poland, who have tested opposing goalkeepers just seven times in total.
Switzerland’s 13 efforts on goal renders them the ninth-most accurate shooters left at the Euros, but for all their increased attacking output, they’ve only been capable of bulging the net twice.
Profligacy of this magnitude has doubtless had a huge impact on Vladimir Petkovic’s men failing to win five of their last seven fixtures preceding their last-16 encounter.
The Swiss may have limped this far, but they needn’t be overly concerned given the underwhelming form of their forthcoming foes.
Three of the White Eagles’ last five opponents have avoided defeat, including Lithuania, who snared a goalless draw from their pre-tournament friendly earlier this month.
That result is one of five in 2016 in which either of the parties in question has failed to score from their 14 combined outings so far. Expect both to add to the haul here.
Recommended bet: 0-0 @ 9/2
No surprises as to which way we’re leaning here.
The bookies are braced for a snoozefest, having slapped a stringent 2/5 on fewer than three goals scored in St-Etienne, but there’s decent money to be made if you’re prepared to set the limbo stick a little lower.
Each of Poland’s last four games have contained one strike or fewer, while two of three Switzerland outings have followed suit.
Recommended bet: Under 1.5 goals @ 5/4
Who’s Going To Score?
With goals set to be in short supply, one will likely win it for either team.
As to who’s going to score it, three of the four goals scored by Swiss players in their previous four games came via one of the trio deployed behind a solo striker.
Xherdan Shaqiri, who got three in his previous international tournament, is yet to bag, but has had seven attempts so far, making him Switzerland’s joint-most willing trigger puller, alongside Blerim Dzemaili.
Unlike Dzemaili, who is yet to hit the target, the Stoke City superstar has made the keeper work with just under 30% of his efforts.
Recommended bet: Shaqiri to score any time @ 4/1
Of all the last-16 bouts, this has to be among the most likely to go to penalties.
Poland have never previously been involved in a shootout, while the Swiss have only experienced one before. It was against Ukraine in the 2006 World Cup, where they missed three spot-kicks from three.
A repeat performance will hand Adam Nawalka’s men the laurels here.
Recommended bet: Poland to win on penalties @ 9/1