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Euro 2020 Quarter-finals: Spain brace for tough Swiss test; Belgium take on Italy with semi-final spot on line

The quarter finals of the 2020 European Championship kicks off Friday July 2, 2021 with two crucial ties.

A difficult examination night awaits the Spaniards at Gazprom Arena, St. Petersburg as buoyant Switzerland looks ready to cause another upset on Friday whiles the two heavyweights of the European football – Belgium and Italy – will also be bidding for a place in the semi-finals when they come toe-to-toe at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

The underdogs, Switzerland made an incredible comeback to dump World Champions France out of the major tournament in the last 16.

Roberto Martinez’s side exhibited strong mentality to truncate Portugal’s reign and dream of retaining the European Championship with a 1-0 victory in the final 16.

Favorites France and holders Portugal, all from the Group of Death were slain by Switzerland and Belgium respectively in the knock out phase of the Euros.

Spain, Italy heads into the quarters with a crucial and tougher fixture against the giant slayers to book a spot in the semi-final berth.

We project into today’s quarter-final fixtures reliving the glorious and inglorious moments that saw these teams advance to the final eight berth.

Spain vs Switzerland to kick off quarter-finals: Luis Enrique expecting tough Switzerland test

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Spain coach Luis Enrique insists there is no complacency in his camp going into Friday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final, whiles Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said neither he nor his players were content with reaching the tournament’s last eight after their heroics against France.

Spain struggled in the group stage with frustrating opening draws with Sweden and Poland but seemed to have gained their rhythm after thumping Slovakia 5-0 to set up a last 16 tie against Croatian – Spain let slip a 3-1 lead in normal time before running out 5-3 winners against Croatia to set a final 8 clash against galvanized Switzerland.

Switzerland had a rough start drawing with Wales and loosing 3-0 to Italy in their opening group stage encounter but the revived with a win over Turkey to set France tie in the Round of 16 – Switzerland struck twice in the closing stages to draw 3-3 with France after 90 minutes before winning 5-4 on penalties to progress to the final eight of this summer’s European Championship.

Switzerland will be without suspended captain Granit Xhaka after the inspirational Arsenal midfielder received his second booking of the tournament against France.

Switzerland have beaten Spain just once in 22 meetings.

The two sides will face off at the Gazprom Arena, St. Petersburg in Russia to kick start the quarter-final phase of this year’s Euros.

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Belgium vs Italy: The Battle of the heavyweights with a semi-final spot on line

The other quarter-final match-up will see Italy and Belgium going head-to-head at the Allianz Arena in Munich in a bid to progress to the semi-final berth.

This Euro 2020 quarter-final encounter will be the 23rd meeting between Italy and Belgium, and the Azzurri have only lost one competitive encounter.

Both teams have maintained a 100% record at this summer’s Euros, winning all their games straight up to the knock out phase.

Italy marched into the last 16, brushing aside Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in the opening group stage fixtures before surviving a Austrian scare to leave it late to the quarters of Euro 2020.

World’s number one were earmarked as favourites heading into the tournament and have lived up to the tag as they qualified for the quarter-finals, knocking out reigning European Championship holders Portugal with a 1-0 victory in Seville. The Red Devils also defeated the likes of Russia, Denmark and Finland en route to the quarters.

These two European giants will collide in what promises to be a blockbuster clash on Friday July 2 in Bavaria.

In their 22 previous meetings, Italy have registered 14 wins, with Belgium clinching just 4 wins over the Azzuri, while they have settled for 4 stalemates.

This is Belgium’s sixth appearance at the European Championships whiles Italy is making a tenth appearance at the major tournament.

Other Quarter final fixture on Saturday, July 3

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Czech Republic vs Austria in Baku 4PM

Ukraine vs England in Rome 7PM

Acknowledgement : Betway Ghana (Headline Sponsor)

Mark F. | SilverFM

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Saani Abacha

Saani Abacha is a sports writer with a keen interest in African Football and a product of team play. I love sports for a reason and derives my pleasure and happiness watching any kind of sporting discipline. Get in touch via Email| Twitter| @Saani_abacha On Whatsup| +233207413977.

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