There is nothing better than knockouts in an international tournament and nothing explains it better than Spain’s victory in the round of 16 over Croatia and Switzerland’s surprise against France. Two teams that fought to the end and proved themselves in the toughest challenges face each other in the quarterfinals and expectations only go up.
Russia’s St. Petersburg Stadium will be shaking with 34,000 allowed fans as the exciting match takes place on Friday, July 2. Both teams will be more cautious and the match is expected to be as fierce as possible.
Vladimir Petkovic’s team wrote an incredible story when they eliminated the competition’s favorites and the world champion French team in a six-goal thriller that turned into penalties as the teams were unable to separate in two hours of grueling football. Switzerland scored all their shots and Yan Sommer became a national hero by saving Kylian Mbappé’s penalty, leading them to the next round.
🇨🇭 RESULT: Switzerland to the quarterfinals after a thrilling shootout!
WHAT GAME! 😮
🤔 Did you see it coming? # EURO2020
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 28, 2021
They will face the three-time European champions and one of the best teams left in the competition in Spain in the quarterfinals and will once again be the losers.
The Red Fury comes to this meeting after a grueling 120-minute battle with 2018 World Cup runner-up Croatia. The Chess Players gave everything they had and came back from a two-goal deficit to equalize. But Spain caught them out of breath in overtime and scored two more in quick succession to seal the victory. Defensive mistakes and escapes almost cost Spain a place in the quarterfinals and Luis Enrique needs to do something about it to avoid any more surprises.
📸 We go to bed remembering moments that are already unforgettable.
– Spanish Soccer Team (@SeFutbol) June 28, 2021
Spain have scored the most goals (11) in the tournament so far, but Switzerland is brimming with confidence and ready for whatever challenge comes their way.
The winner of this match will face the winner of Belgium vs Italy in the semi-final.
The Rossocrociati will have a team in full suspension-free form and will do their best against Spain and continue this beautiful race until the semi-finals.
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) June 29, 2021
Petkovic has lined up a 3-4-1-2 formation in all four games so far with two wingers and a midfield pivot from Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler providing the requisite support for his three-man defense.
Swiss likely lineup: Summer; Elvedi, Schar, Akanji; Mbabu, Freuler, Xhaka, Zuber; Shaqiri; Embolus, Seferovic
Luis Enrique also has a squad in top form at his disposal and will face the Swiss team with all his might. They will have to cover up the defensive errors a bit and the absence of David de Gea in the starting eleven could be reconsidered.
🙌🏻 ROLL THE BALL AGAIN IN DENMARK !!
😅 15 more minutes of suffering !! VAMOOOOOS !!
– Spanish Soccer Team (@SeFutbol) June 28, 2021
Expectations will skyrocket from La Roja fans being the obvious favorites and the most talented side. Spain will seek to dominate possession in a 4-3-3 formation.
Spain likely lineup: Simon; Azpilicueta, P. Torres, Laporte, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Sarabia, Morata, F. Torres
It was once again the performance of a Granit Xhaka captain and he helped his team achieve what seemed impossible at first. He provided the key assist for Switzerland’s last minute draw that kept them in the game. He had a huge job fighting one of the best pivots in midfield and he went head-to-head with them. It has been a good tournament for Xhaka so far and he is expected to continue that way in the big game against Spain as well.
The Arsenal midfielder has recovered 26 balls and 10 tackles so far, and he will face players like Busquets and Koke in midfield and will have to be in his prime for Switzerland to pass.
Spain’s goal hopes will be on the shoulders of their young forwards Daniel Olmo, Ferran Torres and Mikel Oyarzabal. All three combined against Croatia to seal La Roja’s victory in what once seemed like a chance. Ferran Torres scored one and assisted one, while Olmo came in as a super substitute and helped the two goals in overtime that led them through. Oyarzabal scored the key goal that gave them the mattress in extra time.
Their older forwards haven’t been up to the task so far and Luis Enrique could need the support of these youngsters.
Both teams sweated for 120 minutes in the previous match and fatigue will definitely make its appearance during the match. Despite all the tired legs, both Spain and Switzerland are expected to give their all for a place in the semi-final. Spain is the clear favorite between the two, but another surprise could be at stake when seeing what happened in Switzerland’s last game. However, Luis Enrique and his men will do everything possible to avoid setbacks.
FootTheBall predicts a 3-2 victory for Spain.