UEFA EURO 2020 - FRIDAY QUARTER-FINALS PREVIEW
The UEFA EURO 2020 Quarter-Finals kick-off tonight, Friday evening, with Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and Italy all eyeing their place in the Semi-Finals.
SWITZERLAND VS SPAIN
Friday 2nd July, 5pm - Saint Petersburg Stadium
It was certainly an entertaining night of football as both teams featured in the Round of 16 last week.
After their 5-0 group stage demolition of Slovakia, Spain entered the knockout stage against an in-form Croatia side, who had just ended Scotland's hopes of progressing from the group stages. With 5 minutes to go, Spain led 3-1 and were staring at a place in the Quarter-Finals. However, 2 late goals from Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic turned the game on its head, and meant an extra 30 minutes of were upon us. First half goals in extra time from Morata and Oyarzabal were enough to win the game, and Spain comfotably seen out the second half with a 5-3 win, and a place in the Quarter-Finals secured.
It seemed one breath taking game of football wasn't enough for the tournament on Monday, as the Swiss pulled off the shock of the tournament, coming back from 3-1 to defeat tournament favourites France 5-4 on penalties. Striker Haris Seferovic scored twice and a last minute equaliser from Mario Gavranovic was enough to take the game into extra time. A goalless 30-minutes meant the match would be decided by a penalty shootout, and Kylian Mbappe's missed penalty was a moment of true Swiss-bliss!
Spain will certainly not be complacent heading into this Quarter-Final tie. The 2 teams met twice in the Nations League last year, with Spain edging a 1-0 win in their first meeting, before being held to a 1-1 draw the following month. Switzerland will be without captain Granit Xhaka who picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in the last match. If the Round of 16 games are anything to go by, then we are certainly in for a cracker!
BELGIUM VS ITALY
Friday 2nd July, 8pm - Allianz Arena, Munich
This may well be the tie of the round, as the world's number 1 ranked team face off against a strong Italian side, full of confidence after winning all 4 of their EURO 2020 matches.
Belgium seen off a strong Portugal side in the Round of 16, with Thorgan Hazard's goal on the stroke of half-time sealing a 1-0 win for Roberto Martinez's side. Italy on the other hand needed extra-time to see off Austria, eventually coming out 2-1 winners. It was the first goal the Italians had conceded in over 19 hours of football, and they are undefeated in 31 international matches. Belgium's main attacking threat comes in the form of Romelu Lukaku - with 3 goals so far at EURO 2020. They may well be without Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, who were both taken off injured in their match against Portugal. Italy have no major injury concerns, and will be looking to front man Ciro Immobile to continue his goal scoring form in the tournament.
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