In just over seven days we will know the two teams that will be squaring off in the EURO 2020 final. Eight teams remain at present, but they will be halved over the coming weekend at the quarterfinal stage. But, which nations should be included in gamblers soccer predictions?
Switzerland vs Spain
The best day of EURO 2020 so far came on Monday evening, as Switzerland and Spain earned their spots in the next round of the competition. Both nations were involved in fixtures that could be in the top five EURO games of all time.
Switzerland produced one of the great EURO comebacks in their round of 16 tie against France. The Swiss were dead and buried with just ten minutes remaining of the game, as they trailed 3-1 to the world champions. However, Switzerland weren’t about to give up and allow the French an easy passage through. Haris Seferovic scored his second of the game to give Switzerland a lifeline with nine minutes remaining, before Mario Gavranovic struck home the equaliser in the final minute. The French continued to press in injury time, but the Swiss deservedly took the game to penalties. The crucial missed penalty would come from France, as Kylian Mbappe saw his spot-kick saved.
Spain were also involved in a classic, as they had to show their character to come back in extra time after throwing away a 3-1 lead. The Spanish looked to be comfortable after coming back from 1-0 down to take a 3-1 lead with 13 minutes remaining. Spain’s goals were scored by Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres. However, Croatia levelled the scores with two goals in the final seven minutes. Extra time saw Spain pull ahead once again, but this time there was no Croatian fightback. Alvaro Morata deservedly got his name on the scoresheet, before Mikel Oyarzabal completed the scoring.
The victory over the French would have give Switzerland a massive boost. However, this looks to be another challenging fixture, and we struggle to see past Spain.
Belgium vs Italy
The tie of the round in the quarterfinals will take place at the Allianz Arena, as Belgium and Italy clash for a place in the semi-finals.
Italy and Belgium will meet for the fifth time in a major tournament on Friday evening, but this will be the first time that they have met outside of the group stages. Italy have dominated the previous meetings, having won three and drawn once.
Italy’s winning run extended in the round of 16, as they are now unbeaten in 31 international fixtures. However, they narrowly avoided a scare in the previous round against Austria. The Italians needed extra time to get past the doggy Austrian outfit. After a 0-0 draw in normal time, Italy broke the deadlock in the 95th minute, as Federico Chiesa impressively finished from a tight angle with a half volley. The advantage was doubled ten minutes later, as Matteo Passina came off the bench to finish after an impressive move. However, Austria hit back as Italy conceded their first goal at the tournament this summer. But, the Italians were able to hold on and claim the victory.
Belgium’s golden generation have an excellent chance of ending the nations wait for a major success this summer. They overcame a stern test in the last round, as they edged past Portugal with a 1-0 success. The only goal of the game was scored three minutes before the break, as Thorgen Hazard unleashed a fierce effort from outside the box. Portugal tried to come back, but Belgium defended excellently.
This could be an entertaining meeting between two high quality national sides. Extra time could be needed once again, as neither will be looking to give their opponent many chances. However, our preference would be for the Italians to sneak through to the semi-finals.
Czech Republic vs Denmark
The other half of the draw looks wide open, and either the Czech Republic or Denmark will be in the semi-finals of the EUROs this summer.
Not many would have given Denmark a chance of reaching this stage judging by what they have been through as a team this tournament. The opening game was heartbreaking for Danish players, as they watched on as Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch. However, there is a sense that the team are performing to their max on every occasion for their influential attacking midfielder. They are certainly riding a wave of emotion, and that saw them produce a mesmeric performance to see off Wales with a 4-0 success in the last round.
The Czech Republic’s impressive form at the EUROs this summer continued on Sunday afternoon, as they knocked out the Netherlands. Patrik Schick continued his excellent performances with another goal ten minutes from time to wrap up the 2-0 success. Tomas Holes had given the Czech’s the lead earlier in the game.
Denmark have an impressive record in the head-to-head with the Czech Republic. They are unbeaten in six, and that run could extend to seven, as we expect the Danes to get past this tricky looking test.
England vs Ukraine
England will play their first game away from Wembley in the quarterfinals of the EUROs, as they take on Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Three Lions produced one of their best performances in modern history to claim a famous victory over Germany in the round of 16. It was the first time in over 50 years that England had beaten the Germans in a major tournament, and it was a fine display by Gareth Southgate’s side. England gave away very little and looked solid at the back, and took their chances when they created them at the other end of the field.
The Three Lions needed to remain patient in the game, as they didn’t get their clear opportunity until 15 minutes from time as Raheem Sterling finished off following a Luke Shaw cross. Shaw was once again involved in England’s second, as he played the ball to Jack Grealish before Harry Kane headed home to break his duck for the tournament. There is a sense that football could be coming home after this momentous victory.
England will come up against Ukraine in the quarterfinals, as they saw off Sweden in a dramatic conclusion in extra time. Ukraine scored the match winning goal in the 121st minute, as Artem Dovbyk struck the winner. Oleksandr Zinchenko had given Ukraine the lead before half time, but Emil Forsberg soon equalised for the Swedes.
England will be the clear favourites to progress to the next round, and we can’t think of many problems that they could have against Ukraine on Saturday evening.