Switzerland v Spain
The round of 16 was hugely entertaining and produced two incredibly memorable matches. Both of these sides contributed and they are unlikely to radically alter their approach here. Spain have scored 11 times so far (not bad for a side who opened up with a 0-0 draw against Sweden) and have gradually found their feet at Euro 2020.
They played with a front three against Croatia and managed to fire in 23 shots throughout the contest. It wasn’t a day to remember for Unai Simon and his back four, although the ever-reliable Cezar Azpilicueta came out of the game with plenty of credit.
Luis Enrique has been determined to evolve La Roja and move away from the Tiki-Taka style which had brought them great success in the early 2000s, however, they still see plenty of the ball and are likely to carve out a decent number of chances here.
Switzerland may have got off to a slow start, however, they’ve now scored six times in their last two matches and unlocked the French defence on several occasions on Monday night. Vladimir Petkovic has a smaller squad to work with, however, he has several experienced players who should be able to pour forward at every opportunity. This could be a cracker.
2-2 Draw | 18/1
Belgium v Italy
Italy fans were pleased to have been drawn against Austria in the round of 16, however, they hadn’t banked on Franco Foda’s defensive masterplan.
The Austrian boss, who is half Italian, had spoken openly about his plan to prevent Jorginho from getting on the ball and his determination to thwart the Azzurri’s biggest creative outlets. His idea worked effectively for 90 minutes and his side almost won the game. However, Roberto Mancini used his bench wisely and it was his subs who saved the day. They weren’t at their best, however, they still found a way to win the game.
Belgium weren’t at their best against Portugal either, however, they benefitted from a Thorgen Hazard thunderbolt just before half-time. The Red Devils have played well in spells so far at this tournament, although the injuries are beginning to mount up. Neither Eden Hazard nor Kevin de Bruyne are 100% fit for this clash, although both have opted to remain with the squad.
Belgium’s ageing defence wasn’t overly stretched against Portugal, who were uncharacteristically quiet going forward, however, this should be a tougher test.