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Swiss eye historic victory

Monday, June 30, 2014

PORTO SEGURO, Brazil - Switzerland are hoping Wednesday's World Cup last 16 clash will be a 'home game' for them as they bid to claim a historic win over Argentina and superstar Lionel Messi.

History is against the Swiss in Sao Paulo as they chase a first win over Argentina at the seventh attempt after four defeats and two draws.

In their most recent meetings, the Swiss held Argentina to a 1-1 draw in June 2007 in Basel, then suffered a 3-1 defeat in Bern in February 2012 during friendly matches.

Two years ago, the scores were locked at 1-1 before Messi, a four-time world player of the year, struck with two late goals to claim his first international hat-trick.

Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio says while they are fully aware of the threat Messi poses, familiarity does not breed contempt on this occasion.

"We'll prepare ourselves to face Messi, as well as their other players, but of course he has the quality to decide games," said Benaglio.

"It will be relatively hard to shut him out, but he's not the only dangerous player in a very good team.

"Argentina don't revolve just around Messi even though he's their superstar.

"But we know all about the skills he has and it helps that we've seen a lot of him."

Benaglio says the Swiss will need an "exceptional performance" from each player if they are to beat Argentina.

"Both times we have played them recently, we weren't without chances and we have to believe in our chances this time," said the 30-year-old.

"To pull off a sensational result, we need an exceptional day from every individual in the team.

"Of course, we want to write history."

The Swiss hope to take advantage of the deep rivalry between Argentina and hosts Brazil and tap into the support of locals at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena.

"I hope it will be a 'home game' for us," said the Benaglio, as the Swiss bid to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 60 years.

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