Euro 2020 Quarter-finals Preview

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(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Laura Paterson Aug 02, 2021, 10:40 AM
The opening ceremony at the Euro 2020 competition - Photo by Andrew Medichini - Pool/Getty Images
(Photo by Andrew Medichini - Pool/Getty Images)

The Euro 2020 Round of 16 was one of the most memorable to date, with plenty of surprises for sports betting fans. Shock results, massive wins, and many nervous moments saw three of the tournament’s favorites knocked out. Portugal, France, and Germany - who all made it out of Group F’s Group of Death - all suffered defeats and went home. 

The route to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals was far from easy: Spain suffered a scare at the hands of Croatia, but finally ran out 5-3 winners in extra time. Italy had their sternest test of the tournament, just sneaking past resilient Austria to win 2-1. Belgium held on for a tight 1-0 win against Portugal. Switzerland put in a mammoth performance to beat World Champions France 5-4 on penalties. England finally put history behind them with a 2-0 win over Germany, and Ukraine overcame Sweden 2-1 in extra time. 

Let’s take a look at the games taking place in the quarter-finals for Euro 2020.

Quarter-final matches

Friday, July 2

  • Spain vs. Switzerland - 17:00 EST
  • Belgium vs. Italy - 19:00 EST

Saturday, July 3

  • Czech Republic vs. Denmark
  • Ukraine vs. England

Spain vs. Switzerland

(Photo by THANASSIS STAVRAKIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Betting odds: Spain: -155 Switzerland: +450

Spain and Switzerland gave us what may be one of the most memorable days in Euro history in the knockout rounds - with six goals scored in normal time in each game.

The two teams will meet at the St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia, which will be heaving with 34,000 fans. Spain will have to ensure that they are at their very best to keep a team that is brimming with confidence and adrenaline at bay. Luis Enrique must ensure that the defensive errors and leakages that almost sent his team home are nowhere to be found in this game and needs to do something about it to avoid any further upsets. However, Spain is the top-scoring team left in the competition with 11 goals, and Vladimir Petković will have to ensure his defense is switched on to keep the La Furia Roja strikers quiet.

Team news

(Photo by Ozan Kose - Pool/Getty Images)

Switzerland

Granit Xhaka put in an immense man of the match performance against France, but he will unfortunately miss the quarter-final due to suspension. He is the only absence that The Rossocrociati have to contend with. 

Petković has used a 3-4-1-2 formation in all of Switzerland’s games so far, with two wing-backs providing the support for their three-man defense. The most likely man to come in for the Xhaka is Denis Zakaria. 

Expected lineup: Sommer; Elvedi, Schar, Akanji; Mbabu, Freuler, Zakaria, Zuber; Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferovic

Spain

David de Gea’s absence through injury was felt keenly with Simon’s horrendous mistake in the last match, but it’s likely that the latter will be the man in goal again when La Roja take on Switzerland. Luis Enrique has a fully fit squad to choose from, but they certainly need to work on the defensive errors that nearly cost them a place in the quarter-finals.

Spain usually set up with a 4-3-3 formation when they want to dominate possession, and this is what Enrique is likely to stick with.

Expected lineup: Simon; Azpilicueta, P. Torres, Laporte, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Sarabia, Morata, F. Torres

Key players

With Granit Xhaka injured and Shaqiri known for his inconsistency, the one standout player for the Swiss is undoubtedly Breel Embolo. The opening game against Wales was definitely his best of the tournament, but his pace caused France plenty of problems. He will be up against Jordi Alba on the left, and he can take advantage of the space that Alba is bound to leave behind him when he forays up the pitch. His crossing and strong runs could cause a lot of issues for a defense that isn’t made up of the most physical players.

Spain works as a unit and it’s the young forwards that are going to be the key to getting goals. Daniel Olmo, Ferran Torres, and Mikel Oyarzabal have formed a formidable trifecta, and it was the three of them that combined time and again to see off Croatia in the last round. 

Prediction

Both of these teams played hard for 120 minutes in their last match, and they will undoubtedly feel it in this game. However, both teams are going to give it their all to secure a place in the semi-finals. Spain is definitely the favorite to take this game, but we have seen how resilient this Swiss team can be. 

If Enrique sorts out their defensive mishaps, then Spain should see it out with their goal-scoring threat, but don’t write Switzerland off too soon – they have just beaten the World Champions.

Belgium vs. Italy

(Photo by Anatoly Maltsev - Pool/Getty Images)

Betting odds: Belgium: +230 Italy: +135

With the Round of 16 producing some upsets, two teams that delivered on expectations, Belgium and Italy, will square up in the quarter-finals. The Group Stage wasn’t much of a test for either team and they both collected all nine points, but both of them struggled in the Round of 16 and just managed to get through. So, which team is going to go through to the semi-finals?

Italy has got one of the best defensive records in the competition, conceding just one goal so far, but they now come up against Roberto Martinez’s team, which is ranked as number 1 in the world and who are desperate to finally win a trophy. It’s the Italians that will feel like they have the upper hand, however, with an almost impenetrable defense against a misfiring Belgium team.

Team news

Belgium

Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are both key players for Belgium that came into the tournament with injury concerns, and it looks as if they could miss this one too. Although they both played in the win against Portugal, they were substituted due to injury and are unlikely to feature in the quarter-finals. This is a massive blow for Roberto Martinez.

Expected lineup: Courtois; Vertonghen, Vermaelen, Alderweireld; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Thorgan Hazard; Mertens, Carrasco, Lukaku

Italy

(Photo by Alberto Lingria - Pool/Getty Images)

The good news for Mancini is that Chiellini is back in training, and he could be available for selection for the game against Belgium. Verratti hasn’t been at his best this tournament, but he will likely come in ahead of Locatelli as Mancini opts for experience over-exuberance. 

Expected lineup: Donnarumma; Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Veratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne

Key players

Lukaku is undoubtedly the main man up front for Belgium, and he is the favorite to take the Golden Boot award now that Ronaldo, Benzema, and Lewandowski are out of the competition. He still has two goals to go in order to catch up with Ronaldo, but if there’s anyone that can do that, it’s this man. He is, however, up against one of the best defensive setups in the competition and he’s going to need better service than what he received against Portugal if he’s going to have any impact. Belgium’s build-up play is going to have to be on point if they want the big man to breach the Italian defense.

In stark contrast to Lukaku’s size, Insigne is a small but vibrant winger that is going to make the difference for Italy. The Napoli winger is incredibly hard to dispossess, he always makes defense-splitting passes, and he is going to be the key to getting behind the three men at the back. The Italian draws players towards him to open space for his teammates, and he has a long, bending strike that could be another weapon at the front. He is going to be vital for the Italians in this game.

Prediction

After missing out on the World Cup tournament in 2018, Italy has a point to prove. Mancini has genuinely turned this team from a strong defensive team into an overall unit that can achieve anything. They are excellent in every single department and will take on Belgium expecting to win.

Although ranked as the best team in the world, Belgium has been sluggish in their play so far. This is the last opportunity that they have to win the Euros with their “Golden Generation,” but they are injury-hit and come up against the very last team they would have wanted to face at this stage.

Italy should be able to knock Belgium off their number one spot and go through to the semi-finals.

Czech Republic vs. Denmark

(Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Betting odds: Czech Republic: +290 Denmark: +105

The Czech Republic have come further than many would have imagined, while they finished third in their group, they soundly beat in-form Netherlands 2-0 to make it to the quarter-finals. 

They come up against Denmark, who have also been pretty inconsistent but had a solid, fluid game to take the win against Russia. Of course, the loss of talismanic Christian Eriksen in their first game would have had a big impact on the mentality of the squad. Their 4-0 win over Wales will have given them back some much-needed confidence.

Team news

Czech Republic

Despite having an excellent game against the Dutch, Pavel Kadeřábek is likely to return to the bench with first-choice left-back Jan Boril coming back from injury. The biggest concern for the team is the injury to captain Vladimir Darida, who is in a race against time to be fit for the game against Denmark.

Expected lineup: Vaclik; Coufal, Celustka, Kalas, Boril; Soucek, Holes; Masopust, Barak, Jankto; Schick

Denmark

(Photo by Olaf Kraak - Pool/Getty Images)

As if the absence of skipper Christian Eriksen wasn’t enough, Czech Republic manager Kasper Hjulmand also has to deal with an injury to striker Yussuf Poulsen and wing-back Daniel Wass is struggling to overcome an illness. There is a chance that Poulsen will make the bench for this game, but Wass is almost certainly out. 

Expected lineup: Schmeichel; Christensen, Kjaer, Vestergaard; Stryger, Hojbjerg, Delaney, Maehle, Braithwaite, Damsgaard, Dolberg

Key players

Tomáš Souček is the player that has stepped up to captain his team in the absence of Vladimir Darida. Although the midfielder hasn’t scored in the competition yet, you simply have to look at his record at West Ham to see his capabilities. He is an industrial player that bosses the Czech midfield, and he is always an aerial threat going forward. Manager Jaroslav Šilhavý will hope that Souček will finally find the back of the net against the Danes.

There are two main men that the Danes will rely on when it comes to this quarter-final match. The first is chief creator Mikkel Damsgaard, who has stepped up to replace Christian Eriksen. He registered another assist against Wales, and he has been completely in control of the midfield for Denmark.

The second player is undoubtedly Kasper Dolberg, who is proving to be lethal in front of goal. Dolberg has lit up the Euros with his breathtaking performances and has two goals already for his team. Manager Kasper Hjumland will rely on Damsgaard and Dolberg to get his team through to the next round.

Prediction

Both of these teams registered good wins in their last game and will come into this quarter-final full of confidence. This is a game between two supposed underdogs of the tournament that have very contrasting styles. Denmark are possession-based and like to build up from the back and wear teams down, such as we saw against Wales. Whereas the Czech Republic are quite happy to absorb pressure and hit on the counter-attack. 

This is going to be a hard game to call, but ultimately, the Danes should have enough quality in their squad to overcome the Czech Republic and go through to the semis.

Ukraine vs. England

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Betting odds: Ukraine: +725 England: -225

Ukraine got through to the Round of 16 on a sole win against North Macedonia, and most didn’t expect them to get past Sweden. However, the Swedes managed to hit the post more than the goal and Ukraine won through a last-minute goal from Artem Dovbyk in extra time. They are going to have to seriously improve if they want to win against the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate might have a conservative approach in his lineups, but that seems to be working for him so far, and he brought on Jack Grealish at the right time against the Germans. They have the best defense in the competition and are yet to concede a goal, and they are expected to win against Ukraine. As we’ve seen from the knockout rounds, however, an upset could be just around the corner and England will have to be switched on throughout the game.

Team news

Ukraine

The only injury concern for the Ukrainians is Artem Besyedin, who was unfortunately injured in their game against Sweden. What will be interesting is to see whether manager Andriy Shevchenko will play the 3-5-3 formation they used against Sweden, or whether he’ll go back to the 4-3-3 that he deployed in the group stages.

Expected lineup: Bushchan; Matviyenko, Kryvtsov, Zabaryi; Zinchencko, Shaparenko, Stepanenko, Sydorchuk, Karavayev; Yaremchuk, Yarmolenko

England

(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

There are a couple of minor injury niggles in the Three Lions squad, but this shouldn’t rule anyone out of contention. The biggest conundrum for Gareth Southgate is choosing from his hugely talented squad. Despite making a massive difference and having a hand in both goals against Germany, Jack Grealish is likely to start on the bench again - if Southgate sticks to his more conservative approach. Fans will hope that a more attacking formation will be named and Grealish is in the starting XI. There’s no doubt that the goalscoring duo of Kane and Sterling will be the first two names you’ll see on the team sheet though.

Expected lineup: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Philips, Rice, Shaw; Sterling, Kane, Grealish 

Key players

Despite not being their top scorer or assist provider, Manchester City’s Zinchenko is undoubtedly Ukraine's best player. He showed his class against Sweden with a beautifully struck volley to give his side the lead and the telling cross that helped Ukraine win the game. He bosses the entire left side of the field with his ball control and crossing ability - he is going to be the vital player if Ukraine are to breach England’s sturdy defense.

Much to Mourinho’s dismay, Luke Shaw has been England’s standout player of the tournament. Yes, Sterling has scored 3 goals. Yes, Jack Grealish is a difference-maker, but don’t forget that Shaw was also involved in England’s two goals against Germany. Shaw seems to be a threat whenever he has the ball and if England plays the 3-5-2 formation, he will be able to get even further up into England’s attacking territory. His forays up the left and his pinpoint crosses are going to be a huge headache for Ukraine.

Prediction

As much as we all love a good underdog story, there is unlikely to be an upset on the cards in this match. Southgate’s approach is simply too pragmatic. His team will stifle any Ukrainian attack, and his forwards should be more confident after the game against Germany going forward. It would be an absolute shock if England doesn’t win this game and go through to the semi-finals.

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About the Author

Laura Paterson

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Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.

Laura is a dedicated in-house writer for The Media Image. An avid sports fan and field hockey player, she gets her fix through writing on a variety of sports for BetMGM.