Switzerland and Ukraine face each other today in Cologne in what is one of the most unexpected of all the second round clashes..
Although the big guns have prospered so far at this tournament, the appearance of these two teams shows that the tournament can still provide the occasional surprise.
Switzerland finished top of Group G, and although they were not the competition’s most attacking outfit, their defence, which has, yet to concede a goal, has been second to none.
However, coach Kobi Kuhn has been forced to rearrange his back four following the shoulder injury to Philippe Senderos which keeps the Arsenal defender out of the competition.
Arsenal’s Johan Djourou replaced Senderos against South Korea and could do the same again, although Ludovic Magnin is also under consideration.
Daniel Gygax should be available for selection despite a muscle strain, although Hakan Yakin, whose set-piece delivery was impressive in 2-0 win over South Korea, may retain his place.
Kuhn believes striker Alexander Frei can be one of the leading scorers at the World Cup.
Frei scored two goals in the group stages, and Kuhn is confident that Frei’s goals can take them into the quarter-finals and beyond.
“I think he can score more goals in the competition,” Kuhn said.
“Whether he will be the best, I don’t know, but there is a chance. We are growing in confidence.
“He has come back from a long injury,” Kuhn added.
“He had two games with Rennes and then joined the national squad which gave him the opportunity to come back into form.”
Ukraine have recovered well from their opening defeat to Spain and confidence will be high following back-to-back wins against Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
Their prospects of reaching the knockout stages looked bleak after the 4-0 defeat to Spain.
But talismanic skipper Andrii Shevchenko said they never lost their self-belief: “We always kept our belief despite the terrible defeat.
“If the team shows heart then with our fans behind us we can go further.
“It’s a hugely important achievement for Ukrainian football that we have got into the next round,” he said.
Andrei Rusol and Viacheslav Sviderski are both suspended, leaving coach Oleg Blokhin with a dilemma.
Vladimir Yezerski, another defender, is carrying an injury and Blokhin says he will leave it until as late as possible before naming his replacement.
Italy: Pascal Zuberbuehler; Ludovic Magnin, Johann Djourou, Patrick Mueller, Philipp Degen; Raphael Wicky, Johann Vogel, Ricardo Cabanas, Hakan Yakin, Tranquillo Barnetta; Alex Frei.
Ukraine: Oleksander Shovkovsky; Volodymir Yezersky, Vladislav Vashchyuk, Andriy Nesmachny; Oleg Gusev, Anatoly Tymoshchyuk, Oleg Shelayev, Maxim Kalinichenko, Serhiy Rebrov; Andriy Shevchenko, Andriy Voronin.
Referee:: Benito Archundia (Mexico).