Switzerland will face off against Spain in Krestovsky Stadium on July 2 following their surprising round of 16 victory over world champions, France.
Following a memorable night that saw 14 goals being scored in only two matches, Spain and Switzerland both secured their place in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals. But the context of these two teams getting to this stage was vastly different. On one hand, Spain were considered as one of the heavy favorites going into Euro 2020, especially since their 6-0 thrashing of Germany in the latter parts of 2020. Despite their initial lackluster performances against Sweden and Poland, Spain’s 5-0 victory over Slovakia in the final match of the group stage and the subsequent 5-3 victory over World Cup finalists, Croatia, has made their claim to the European title even more substantial
But then there is Switzerland, who couldn’t be more different than Spain in terms of how far they were expected to progress in the competition. The Swiss only scraped by to get to the knockout stages by beating Turkey on the last match of the group stage and qualifying as the 3rd team in Group A. then in the first round of knock outs, they delivered the biggest upset of Euro 2020 by knocking out World Cup champions, France. Which takes them to this match, where they’ll face another Goliath, in the form of Spain.
Luis Enrique’s Spain seem to be firing on all cylinders after having a bit of a slow start to the tournament and now they turn their attention to Switzerland in what is sure to be an exciting game. but let’s first see how these teams got into Euro 2020 in the first place:
Spain was in Group F in the qualifying stages for Euro 2020, with the likes of Sweden, Norway and Romania, and finished first by winning 8 and drawing 2 of their 10 matches, scoring 31 and conceding only 5.
Their top goal scorers were Sergio Ramos andAlvaro Morata
both with 4 goals. the former Real Madrid defender was controversially excluded fromSpain
’s Euro 2020 squad and perhaps after their horrendous defensive display in their Euro 2020 round of 16 match against Croatia, Enrique wishes that he had taken the experienced defender with him.
The Red Crosses qualified for the Euro 2020 by winning their group ahead of Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar. They didn’t exactly set the world on fire with their performances but they got the job done with economic wins and clean sheets.
Their best goal scorer Cedric Itten who scored 3 goals.Xhaka
were behind him with 2 goals. they prepared themselves for Euro 2020 by playing 3 friendlies against Finland, USA and Lichtenstein, all of which they won.
Now let’s move onto the Croatia and Spain’s current form and their squad situation:
Spain’s form in the past year and a half has been a mixed bag despite them losing only once in that period. Mainly because they have drawn 8 and only won 6 of their last 15 matches. But there was much hope in Enrique’s side going into Euro 2020, especially considering their 6-0 win overGermany
However, they didn’t start the Euros on a high note since they failed to get a win in their first 2 matches against Sweden and Poland, in both of which they controlled the majority of the game and had numerous chances. But they finally managed to show their quality in the final match of the group stage as they beat Slovakia 5-0.
They then became the only team in Euro history to score 5 goals in consecutive games by beating Croatia 5-3 in extra time in the round of 16. Enrique’s men are more than ready for this match but are also aware of what happened toFrance
and will certainly look to avoid the same fate.
Since their last meeting with Spain, which was a 1-1 draw in November of 2020, Petkovic’s men have been on a roll. They’ve won 8 out of their 10 matches since then and only lost once, which was againstItaly
in Euro 2020.
However, Switzerland took their time to get going in Euro 2020, as they drew their first game 1-1 against Wales and lost their second to Italy 3-0. But they managed to finally get back on track by winning againstTurkey
3-1 and qualifying to the next round as one of the third-placed teams. They then proceeded to do the unthinkable and knock the mighty France out of the tournament and are now preparing to do the same to record champions, Spain.
The two teams have a long history of facing each other with their first match dating back to 96 years ago, a friendly game that Spain won 3-0. They have come up against each other a total of 22 times in all competitions, with Spain winning 16 and only losing once. The other five games have ended in a draw. Their last meetings were in the UEFA Nations League in 2020 with Spain winning one and the other ending in a draw.
But perhaps the standout match between the two came at the 2010 World Cup whereSwitzerland
claimed their sole victory over Spain. It was made more memorable as Spain went on to win the World Cup in that very same tournament.
Spain has the highest percentage of possession in Euro 2020 with 73.4%, well above the 2nd place Germany (58.8%). They also have the highest percentage of successful passes in the tournament with 89.5%.
Spain will be playing a 4-3-3 formation. They’re finally at full strength but Alba, Pau Torres, Bosquets and Rodri could all lose the next match if they’re booked and if Spain makes it to the next stage, which isn’t ideal. their possible starting line-up however will consist of: Unai Simón; Azpilicueta, Eric García, Laporte, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Sarabia, Morata, Ferran Torres.
Vladimir Petković men will line up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, withShaqiri
behind Embolo andSeferovic
in attack. The loss of Granit Xhaka due to suspension will be a big blow for the Swiss and may cost them in the end but Denis Zakaria will possibly take his place. So the most likely starting line-up for Switzerland will be: Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez; Widmer, Freuler, Zakaria, Zuber; Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferović
Spain has no shortage of players that could have a big impact on the game but Manchester City’s young striker Ferran Torres might be the player that takes Spain to the next round. Torres has been directly involved in 8 goals (7 goals and 1 assist) for Spain in the last 9 matches he has played for them.Dani Olmo
is another player to watch in Spain’s squad. the RB Leipzig midfielder provided 2 assists for Spain in the last match against Croatia.
When it comes to the player that could change the game for Switzerland, Haris Seferovic is the man to look for. Having scored 3 times in the competition, 2 of which came against France, Seferovic is deadly on the aerial balls and counter attacks. Seferovic is mostly provided by Steven Zuber who leads with 4 assists as Euro 2020’s top assist provider. However, Granit Xhaka’s absence will be big blow to Switzerland, especially after his masterful performance against France’s impressive midfield in the previous match.
The fact that Switzerland went toe to toe with France, World Champions and one of the most powerful teams in the world, and eventually knocked them out, makes them the wildcard of the tournament. It would be unwise to bet against them but Enrique’s Spain seems to be finally hitting their stride and has solved their problem of goal scoring. They looked vulnerable at the back but their attacking prowess should be enough to get them over the line and into the semi-finals. We’re predicting a 3-1 victory for Spain!
The English referee, Michael Oliver will officiate the clash between Spain and Switzerland. Oliver is a distinguished referee who became an elite UEFA referee at 33, a young age especially for a referee. He has officiated the 2016 League Cup final between Arsenal and Manchester City when he was 31 and he has since overseen 2 FA Cup finals in 2018 and 2021.
Oliver is accompanied by his team countrymen, Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett, as assistant referees on the pitch with the fourth and fifth officials, Ovidiu Hațegan and Sebastian Gheorghe, both being from Romania.
Date: Friday, July 2
Kick off Time: 18 GMT
Location: Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: Switzerland +480; Draw +260; Spain -150 (William Hill Sportsbook)