Updated: Jul 7
07 JULY 2021 | Angelo Ziovas
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Italy v Belgium
The biggest game in the quarters of Euro 2020 pits Belgium against Italy for a place in the semi-finals. Both teams have done a good job getting to this stage and would be a shame for either if they were to fall now.
Italy showed great resolve against Austria to find a goal against them in the previous round, and considering how Austria really pushed Italy, it could very well prepare them for the tough test that is Belgium. The Italians have been looking good so far in the tournament but remains to be seen how they deal with the tough opposition that is Belgium.
Both teams have only conceded one goal so far in the tournament and will be looking to continue to keep goals out. This game could be decided by the one goal, and both teams have proven they can do it. There is a decent chance this could be taken to penalties. Belgium may be without both Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, as they both came off against Portugal with possible injuries.
Belgium will be looking to continue their march towards a first major tournament win, as they have come close in the past, best achieving a runner’s up finish in Euro 1980. Italy was knocked out at this stage last time in Euro 2016, they will be wanting to make it further on. Whoever ends up winning, it will be a close affair, with whoever winning being one of the favourites to win. Italy have also set a new national record going 31 games unbeaten now, for Belgium to break that they will have to give it everything.
Possible line up for Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Possible line up for Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; T. Hazard, Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier; Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco
Switzerland v Spain
Yet another one of the favourites for the Euros Spain, take on Switzerland in what could be a very interesting match-up. Both sides are fresh off incredible round of 16 victories. Spain who beat Croatia 5-3 a.e.t, and Switzerland who stunned the World Champions France 3-3 a.e.t (5-4) on penalties.
Both teams are going to come into this game high on energy but possibly tired after both playing a full 120-minute game each. Both Spain and Switzerland have scored brilliantly in their last two games, with Spain scoring 5 in both of their last two games, and Switzerland scoring 3 in both of their last two games. This could either be a game of attack or a game of defence. But we have seen that when Spain do not take their chances they can be under threat from the opposition, Switzerland will be looking to score early as they did against France and make the Spanish come forward and break on the counter as they have effectively done.
If Spain want to progress, they will have to keep Switzerland out, while also taking any chances that come their way, which we have seen in their first 2 group games and even against Croatia a couple of times is something they have not done efficiently. However, when Spain are on top of it, they are hard to stop. Switzerland will be fancying their chances here after beating France and they will believe they can do it now.
Switzerland has only defeated Spain once with that win coming in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup. The last time they faced each other was in November of 2020, where they played out a 1-1 draw. Switzerland has the tools to beat Spain here, the question is, who will be most effective when the chances come?
Possible Switzerland line up: Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Widmer, Freuler, Zakaria, Zuber; Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferovic
Possible Spain line up: Simon; Azpilicueta, Garcia, Laporte, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Sarabia, Morata, F Torres