Keys to victory, X components, predictions


After an exciting spherical of 16, eight nations retain hope of successful Euro 2020. The quarterfinals start on Friday, with Switzerland assembly Spain and Belgium taking over Italy. The next day, Czech Republic and Denmark conflict, earlier than Ukraine face England.

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ESPN units out what you should know concerning the 4 ties, all of which stream LIVE on ESPN networks and ESPN+, whereas our specialists additionally predict what the semifinals will appear like.

Soar to: Switzerland vs. Spain | Belgium vs. Italy | Czech Republic vs. Denmark | Ukraine vs. England | SF picks

Switzerland vs. Spain

Friday: Midday ET / 6 p.m. CET (ESPN, ESPN+)

Switzerland keys to victory: It’s all about perception. They’re treading new floor by reaching a quarterfinal however, having defeated world champions France within the spherical of 16, Vladimir Petkovic’s staff shouldn’t worry Spain. Since being overrun 3-0 by Italy of their second group sport, Switzerland have clicked into gear they usually look a robust, assured and skilled staff. They’re well-organised and have the attacking expertise of Breel Embolo, Xherdan Shaqiri and Haris Seferovic to harm Spain. Spain have the larger repute, however Switzerland have already accounted for France, so they need to again themselves to win this tie.

Spain keys to victory: Spain are a contradiction of a staff. They’ve scored 10 objectives of their final two video games, however proceed to overlook clear probabilities, with Alvaro Morata typically the largest perpetrator. Luis Enrique’s staff have in some way rode their luck to win regardless of these missed alternatives, however they cannot depend on that to proceed, so that they want Morata and the opposite attacking gamers to be extra scientific in entrance of objective. Spain’s hopes of victory could come down to 1 likelihood in 90 minutes, so that they need to take it. Morata’s objective within the round-of-16 win towards Croatia could but show essential in boosting his confidence.

This sport’s X issue: The absence of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka as a result of suspension might show decisive in tipping the stability in Spain’s favour. Xhaka has been excellent for the Swiss at Euro 2020 and left many Arsenal supporters questioning why he has not been fairly so dominant and spectacular for the Gunners in latest seasons. With out his drive and tenacity, Switzerland have to any individual else to step up and be sure that Sergio Busquets doesn’t win the midfield battle for Spain.

Who goes by means of and why? I am backing Switzerland, regardless of the lack of Xhaka in midfield, as a result of they appear a stronger staff than Spain, each collectively and bodily. That is arguably Spain’s weakest staff for 20 years and Switzerland won’t ever have a greater alternative to succeed in the semifinals (and closing) of a serious match. — Mark Ogden.



Alessandro Del Piero just isn’t assured about Italy’s probabilities in the event that they play like they did towards Austria once more.

Belgium vs. Italy

Friday: 3 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CET (ESPN, ESPN+)

Belgium keys to victory: The again three — Jan Vertonghen (34), Toby Alderweireld (32) and Thomas Vermaelen (35) — has a mixed age of over 100 and wishes to carry up towards an Italy assault with gamers who can beat you one-on-one. Clearly, changing Kevin De Bruyne will probably be essential; there may be no one like him, so Belgium could also be greatest merely taking part in a bit otherwise, maybe with extra playmaking duties coming from deeper. Whoever is available in, he’ll must be efficient in urgent the JorginhoMarco Verratti partnership, simply as Austria did to good impact. Then there’s Romelu Lukaku: In a sport like this, maybe it’s best to service him front-to-goal.

Italy keys to victory: The second half towards Austria was disappointing, and it’s important that Roberto Mancini makes the proper calls when it comes to the best way to handle what occurred: Are we speaking tweak or overhaul? Giorgio Chiellini appears to be like to be match once more, however each Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni could be a greater match to comprise Lukaku. And stopping him will probably be key, in addition to containing the various tough dribblers (Yannick Carrasco, Jeremy Doku, Dries Mertens and, particularly, Eden Hazard) Belgium can name upon. The opposite key’s utilizing Federico Chiesa accurately, whether or not as a starter or off the bench as an impression substitute.

This sport’s X issue: Eden Hazard is the wild card. If he’s match and on prime of his sport, he may cause severe issues operating at opponents, in addition to compensate — partly — for De Bruyne’s lacking creativity. He regarded as if he had left his Madrid woes behind him, however doubts stay after he appeared to select up a muscular harm late towards Portugal.

Who goes by means of and why? I picked Belgium to win the match and really feel I want to stay with that. With out De Bruyne, although, this sport is a toss-up. Each groups have shutdown keepers — Thibaut Courtois for Belgium and Gianluigi Donnarumma for Italy — and it might come right down to tiny particulars. Belgium have extra expertise and that would sway it, no matter Hazard. Nevertheless it’s shut. Very shut. — Gab Marcotti

Czech Republic vs. Denmark

Saturday: Midday ET / 6 p.m. CET (ESPN, ESPN+)

Czech Republic keys to victory: The main target forward of the sport will probably be on striker Patrik Schick, after he scored 4 objectives in 4 video games, however Czech Republic have been stable on the again, too. They’ve solely conceded twice all match and saved Netherlands scoreless of their round-of-16 tie after Frank de Boer’s facet had netted eight objectives within the group stage. Denmark blew away Russia and Wales, scoring 4 objectives in every sport, but when the Czechs can keep disciplined and organised of their defensive form, they will even have an opportunity of scoring with a striker like Schick within the facet. It is doubtless that a lot of the crowd in Baku will probably be behind Denmark, however the Czechs ought to be used to that after going through England at Wembley and Scotland at Hampden Park.

Denmark keys to victory: Denmark supervisor Kasper Hjulmand has gained a number of followers for the best way he performed himself following the near-tragic incident involving Christian Eriksen, however he has additionally proven he’s a prime coach. Underneath stress towards Wales, he switched from his favorite 3-4-3 formation to 4-3-3 and it allowed his gamers to get a grip of the sport. That form of administration from the touchline could be very important in high-pressure video games, notably when it is extremely unlikely that it’ll all go your means for 90 minutes. Hjulmand’s capability to adapt to spells of Czech dominance could possibly be key.

This sport’s X issue: Denmark have momentum after two large wins towards Russia and Wales, however they’re additionally being pushed ahead by one thing greater than that. The best way the squad has recovered after seeing what occurred to Eriksen of their first sport is outstanding they usually appear to be driving a tidal wave of emotion and goodwill. It is one thing that may’t be measured however these items play an element while you get to the enterprise finish of a serious match.

Who goes by means of and why? Denmark. Neglect for a second what’s taking place across the staff off the pitch; on it they’ve been spectacular towards Russia and Wales, scoring eight objectives and conceding one. Additionally they had an enormous take a look at of their second sport towards Belgium and have been the higher staff for 45 minutes. Eriksen is a giant miss however there may be a number of high quality all through the staff, notably their backbone of Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. — Rob Dawson.



Stewart Robson addresses if soccer pundits and followers are proper to need Gareth Southgate to take Harry Kane out of the beginning XI.

Ukraine vs. England

Saturday: 3 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CET (ABC, ESPN+)

Ukraine keys to victory: Ukraine aren’t a one-man staff, however their probabilities of success rely closely on captain Andriy Yarmolenko. Solely 4 gamers have registered extra dribbles at Euro 2020 than the West Ham winger (14) and he’s so typically the catalyst for his nation, chopping in off the flank or driving Ukraine ahead from a extra central place. With 42 objectives to his title, the 31-year-old is second in Ukraine’s all-time goal-scorers listing — behind supervisor Andriy Shevchenko — and he’ll look to dovetail with Roman Yaremchuk, a strong centre-forward with the physique to trigger England issues. If he is match, that’s. Yarmolenko got here off through the first interval of additional time of their round-of-16 win over Sweden, however even when he is solely remotely able to taking part in, he’ll. In spite of everything, Ukraine have by no means been this far at a European Championship.

England keys to victory: No one noticed it coming, however England’s run has been primarily based on a defence so strong that they’re but to concede a objective. The one different time they saved clear sheets of their opening 4 matches was 1966, when England went on to safe their sole World Cup triumph. Gareth Southgate’s facet have ridden their luck every now and then — most clearly when Germany‘s Thomas Muller fired huge when clear by means of at Wembley — however John Stones, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and the returning Harry Maguire have given England a stable basis to construct on. Harry Kane has lastly ended his drought, whereas Raheem Sterling‘s vitality has been very important in injecting dynamism into the extra sterile passages of England’s play. Anticipate extra safety-first soccer: Ukraine have saved one clear sheet of their final 16 aggressive video games so Southgate will really feel one other outing during which England think about nullifying their opponents whereas making a handful of probabilities of their very own ought to be the blueprint for achievement.

This sport’s X issue: The warmth. The sport kicks off at 9 p.m. native time, however the forecast suggests the temperature might nonetheless be as excessive as 27 levels Celsius. England habitually battle in such temperatures, though it ought to be identified they beat Croatia in related warmth at Wembley to kick off their Group D marketing campaign. Southgate has earlier spoken about tiredness within the camp however they need to nonetheless have a health edge over Ukraine, who have been taken to additional time simply hours after England beat Germany, and fatigue is an apparent concern now exacerbated by the doubtless circumstances.

Who goes by means of and why? England could make their particular person superiority inform in a decent sport. Having to journey to Rome means they may miss the house comforts of Wembley however their sturdy defensive platform ought to present the inspiration for one more victory. Ukraine could discover this a sport too far after their exertions towards Sweden. — James Olley.


What would be the semifinal match-ups? Our specialists make their picks.

Ogden: Switzerland vs. Belgium; Czech Republic vs. England

Marcotti: Spain vs. Belgium; Denmark vs. England

Dawson: Spain vs. Belgium; Denmark vs. England

Olley: Spain vs. Belgium; Denmark vs. England



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