France, winner of the 2018 World Cup, and Spain, champion of Euro 2012, enter the round of 16 of Euro 2020 against Switzerland and Croatia respectively on Monday.
Spain finally kicked off their tournament with a 5-0 win over Slovakia to reach the last 16, after being flattered to cheat in their two other group matches against Sweden and Poland.
They face a tough task, on paper, against the 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia, who three years later, after a superb run in the last two, had worked hard in that tournament until their final group game when a 3-1 win over Scotland finally saw them take them to the next level .
If Spain striker Dani Olmo shows up in Copenhagen, the leader of RB Leipzig, who spent six years playing in Croatia, will have an added dimension, passing through the academy of Dinamo Zagreb before leaving for the Bundesliga of the year. last.
He said: “It’s a great special game for me. I have a lot of friends in the Croatian squad. I knew I would be Spain international one day and play against Croatia.”
One of the Croatian players still in the squad of this 2018 final is Domagoj Vida, who, at 32, is old enough to remember playing against Spain at full speed and winning back-to-back Euro titles. in 2008 and 2012.
He stoked the tension a little before Monday’s game by saying the current Spain squad couldn’t match that of the past decade – but he still expects a severe test at Parken Stadium.
He said: “Spain are a great team, with great players, but I think they were much better when Xavi (Hernandez) and (Andres) Iniesta were playing. But that doesn’t mean hell didn’t not expecting us.
“We will have to work hard to try to beat them. We have to stay calm while they have the ball. When we have the ball, we have to counterattack quickly. They don’t like not having the ball, so we do it. will have to make the most of it. “
France take charge Switzerland in the hope of avoiding the embarrassment of the round of 16 against their neighbors, after reaching the final of the last European Championships and winning the World Cup in 2018.
The world champions came out of the Group F ‘death group’ unscathed but struggled to pick up speed, dropping points to Hungary and Portugal and winning just one of their three matches.
Coach Didier Deschamps has defended his team’s performances so far, blaming the heat exhaustion of their performance in their last group game against the Portuguese – and highlighting their opponents’ three extra days of rest before their last round of 16 game.
He said: “They’re a well-structured team and they have good attacking potential with (Haris) Seferovic, (Breel) Embolo and (Xherdan) Shaqiri. We shouldn’t underestimate them and that’s a knockout game so we will have to do everything we can to make sure we are smiling at the end of the game.
“The heat wave in Budapest [during France’s final group stage game] had an impact. We had an extra day between games, five instead of four, while our opponents had eight days, which is better. It’s hot in here too, but a little more manageable. “
Switzerland faced criticism after collecting a point in matches against Italy and Wales, but advanced to the round of 16 despite coming third in Group A, thanks to a landslide victory over Turkey in his last group match.
Forward Embolo, referred to as a dangerman by Deschamps, said he was impressed with Switzerland’s international setup at the tournament and said their solid dressing room would be the key to creating a shock.
He said: “For me, personally, it doesn’t really matter [if I score or not]. The bottom line is that we move on to the next round. I generally feel very good about the whole installation. We have a very good team. Even in the qualifying phase, it was always about teamwork. “
Croatia vs Spain: Croatia are without veteran midfielder Ivan Perisic, who scored twice in his last group game against Scotland, after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Dejan Lovren is also suspended for two yellow cards in the group stage. Sime Vrsaljko, who missed out on Scotland’s victory, is also in doubt.
Spain have no injury issues, having long shaken their own troubled preparations and welcoming Sergio Busquets after a positive test result for Covid-19. They do, however, have four players who would be suspended for any potential quarter-final if they were booked, with Jordi Alba, Busquets, Pau Torres and Rodri all in danger.
France vs Switzerland: Lucas Digne hopes to play for France in the round of 16 despite failing in his last group game with Portugal just seven minutes after coming on. Ousmane Dembele’s tournament is completely over with a knee injury, while that Lucas Hernandez and Marcus Thuram are both uncertain.
Switzerland have the choice of a full squad but like Spain there are a number of suspensions hanging over them if they reach the bottom eight. A reservation for Embolo, Mario Gavranovic, Kevin Mbabu, Fabian Schar or Granit Xhaka would make them miss this match.
Key statistics …
Croatia last faced Spain in all competitions of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. While the Croats won the more recent of these two encounters (3-2 in November 2018), they lost the other 6-0 in September 2018, a result which remains their heaviest defeat on record in international football.
This will be the third major tournament for Croatia and Spain, with the previous two clashes taking place in the group stage of the European Championship. Both teams have won once each: Spain in 2012 and Croatia in 2016.
After winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, Spain have since been eliminated from their last two major tournament knockout matches (World Cup / Euro): the last 16 stages of EURO 2016 (v Italy) and the World Cup (v Russia). Spain were last eliminated in three consecutive knockout appearances at the 1994 World Cup, Euro 1996 and Euro 2000.
In what is their sixth European Championship tournament, Croatia have advanced to the round of 16 for the fourth time. However, they failed to progress beyond the first knockout match on each of the previous three occasions (quarter-finals in 1996 and 2008 and last 16 in 2016).
Spain had a higher expected goals total (xG) than any other team in the Euro 2020 group stage (8.8), although only Scotland (3 – 1 in 4 xG) had underperformed his xG by a higher total than the Spaniards (2.8 – 6 goals from 8.8 xG). Indeed, the two players who underperformed the most on an xG basis during the group stage were the Spaniard – Gerard Moreno (0 goals from 2.1 xG) and lvaro Morata (1 goal from 2.9 xG).
France are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Switzerland (3 v., 4 n.), Their longest unbeaten streak against the Swiss, although four of the last five meetings between the two teams have ended in a tie.
This will be the fifth meeting between France and Switzerland in a major competition (Euro 2004, World Cup 2006, World Cup 2014, Euro 2016), but the first in the round of 16. France is undefeated in such matches (W2 D2), the last match having ended scoreless at Euro 2016.
France have lost only one of their last 17 Euro and World Cup matches combined (V12, N4) – the Euro 2016 final against Portugal.
Switzerland have reached the round of 16 in each of their last four appearances in a major tournament (2014 World Cup, Euro 2016, 2018 World Cup, Euro 2020) – they were eliminated in their first game after the qualifying phase. groups from each of these three previous instances.
France have not lost a competitive match for more than two years, with their last such loss coming against Turkey in a European Championship qualifier in June 2019, taking 14 wins and five zero since. France last enjoyed a longer unbeaten run in competitive matches from 1994 to 1999, a 27-game streak, with
Also at Euro …
Germany will not attempt major penalty training ahead of their Euro 2020 round of 16 tie against England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, saying they hope to finish the game within 90 minutes.
The Germans have won every World Cup penalty shootout they’ve played, as well as two of three at Euro, losing only their first in the 1976 Euro final to Czechoslovakia.
They also beat England on penalties at Wembley in the semi-finals of the 1996 tournament before winning their third European crown.
“We come into the game wanting to win it in 90 minutes,” German midfielder Kai Havertz said at a press conference at their team base in Bavaria on Sunday.
“It could of course go on penalties at this point in the tournament so we have to be prepared. Obviously after practice we took a few shots on goal to see who the better shooters are.
“But that’s not the biggest problem in the game. The 120 minutes before that could be a lot longer and put too much pressure on you. [with penalties] is not good.”
England vs Germany: the big preview of the Sky Sports podcast
The rivalries in international football are no greater than England against Germany. As the two nations brace themselves for a collision in Euro 2020 round of 16, Sky Sports expert Jamie redknapp and Uli kohler joined Pierre Smith to analyze both camps ahead of Tuesday’s showdown at Wembley.
PART 1 | Jamie Redknapp, a member of the England squad eliminated from Euro 96 by Germany, assesses the performance of the Three Lions in the group stages of Euro 2020 and explains why the talented team of Gareth Southgate did not nothing to fear against the Germans.
PART 2 | The prospect of facing England at Wembley is one that all German players will enjoy regardless of an inconsistent group stage, according to Sky Germany reporter Uli Kohler, who speaks on tactics, Jamal Musiala, Jadon Sancho and the dreaded prospect of penalties with Peter in the second part.