After a thrilling Round of 16, eight teams remain in this year’s UEFA Euro competition. With European powerhouse, Germany, eliminated, along with 2016 champions, Portugal, and world champions, France, the road to Wembly is as exciting as ever.
The Gazprom Arena in Russia will host Switzerland and Spain in what should be a very entertaining matchup if both teams play the same way they did in the Round of 16. Spain’s extra-time domination saw them win 5-3 against a strong Croatian side who refused to throw in the towel after being 3-1 down with just 10 minutes left in regulation time. However, Spain vs Croatia’s “match-of-the-tournament” shouts did not last long with the world tuning in to watch France and Swizterland face off. In a game where almost everyone expected the world champions to breeze through a Swiss team that finished third in their group, Switzerland had a different idea. Despite scoring first, Switzerland found itself down 3-1 in the 80th minute. Yet, showing the same resilience the Croatians showed against Spain, Switzerland found a way to level the score in the last ten minutes. Unlike Croatia however, Switzerland eventually knocked out their opposition 5-4 on PKs after Kylian Mbappe’s penalty was saved by Yan Sommer.
If Spain is to prevent Switzerland from pulling off another shock result, they will need Pedri, Morata, and Busquets to play the same way they did against Croatia. With Busquets and Pedri pulling the strings in midfield, Morata must make the most of the chances he gets in front of goal. This tournament has taught us that every chance counts and teams cannot afford to miss opportunities. Morata’s winning goal against Croatia should give him some much-needed confidence in front of goal, something he has been lacking all tournament.
If this Swiss team are to pull off another shock result, they will need Xhaka, Shaqiri, and Seferovic to hit top form. Xhaka controlled the midfield against a French team that had Pogba and Kante and he will need to do the same against Pedri and Busquets. Meanwhile, the “Swiss Messi”, Shaqiri, will need to channel his creativity, playmaking, and goalscoring to get past the Spanish defense and create opportunities for Seferovic. Whatever center-back duo Luis Enrique decides to go with for tomorrow’s game, they will need to focus on Swiss marksman Haris Seferovic. The Benfica striker put two past France and he will be hoping to do the same against Spain.
Predicted Winner: Spain
This matchup may prove more difficult to call than it seems. While Spain may have more individual quality, they should still be wary of a strong and resilient Swiss team. And after Switzerland’s last match against, Spain would be foolish to underestimate Switzerland. If this tournament has taught us anything it is to never count out the underdog, yet, I do expect Spain to make it to the semi-finals.