Euro 2021

Euro 2020: Spain face confident Switzerland as favourites Belgium, Italy fight for a spot in semifinals

Euro 2020: The quarterfinals will kick off on Friday, with Switzerland meeting Spain and Belgium taking on Italy. The following day, Czech Republic and Denmark clash, before Ukraine face England.

UPDATED: July 2, 2021 02:13 PM IST

Spain will look ready to emulate their serial-winning predecessors when they take on Switzerland in Euro 2020 quarter-final as the two heavyweights of the European football – Belgium and Italy – will also battle it out for a place in the semi-finals.

Spain vs Switzerland to kick off quarter-finals

Switzerland shocked France on penalties to secure their spot in the quarter-finals, while Spain beat Croatia 5-3 after extra time to progress to the final eight of this summer’s European Championship.

Yet even though the Swiss lack world stars like France’s Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema or Kylian Mbappe, Spain must be prepared for a long evening finding their way through Vladimir Petkovic’s disciplined side on Friday in St Petersburg.

After Spain’s frustrating opening draws with Sweden and Poland, coach Luis Enrique said that facing a side sitting deep and defending was “the hardest thing in football”

Switzerland hardly has the most resilient defence after conceding eight goals in four games but Petkovic, who has been using a 3-4-1-2 formation, is likely to set his side up to deprive Spain of space in the final third.

Switzerland possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Widmer, Freuler, Zakaria, Zuber; Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferovic

Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon; Azpilicueta, Garcia, Laporte, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Sarabia, Morata, F Torres

Battle of heavyweights: Belgium vs Italy

Belgium, which is trying to win its first major soccer tournament three years after a third-place finish at the World Cup, hasn’t lost in 13 games and is the top-ranked team in the world. The Italians haven’t been beaten in a national team record 31 matches, though they were taken to extra time by Austria in the round of 16.

Both teams won all three of their group matches, and with France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany all eliminated from Euro 2020, the winner in Munich will certainly be among the favourites for the title.

Belgium and Italy have been undefeated in European Championship for the last 14 matches. Belgium has only beaten Italy once before in a competitive game — in the 1972 European Championship quarterfinals.

Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; T. Hazard, Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier; Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

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