The 2018 World Cup winner France and the 2012 European Championship champion Spain will go to the K. on Monday against Switzerland and Croatia respectively.
Spain Their tournament finally started with a 5-0 win over Slovakia and reached the round of 16 after being flattered in the other two group matches against Sweden and Poland.
On paper, they face a difficult task against the 2018 vice world champion Croatiawho struggled from an excellent run in the last two at that tournament three years later to their final group game when they finally got going in the 3-1 win over Scotland.
Should Spanish striker Dani Olmo appear in Copenhagen, the RB Leipzig frontman, who played in Croatia for six years and graduated from the academy at Dinamo Zagreb before moving to the Bundesliga last year, will have an extra dimension.
He said: “This is a big, special game for me. I have a lot of friends on the Croatian team. I knew that one day I would be a Spanish international and play against Croatia.”
One of the Croatian players still on the team from this 2018 final is Domagoj Vida, old enough to remember at 32, played in full swing against Spain and won consecutive European titles in 2008 and 2012 to have.
He added tension a little ahead of Monday’s game by saying that the current Spanish side can’t keep up with those of the past decade – but he is still expecting a tough test at the Parken Stadium.
He said: “Spain are a great team with great players, but I think they were a lot better when Xavi (Hernandez) and (Andres) Iniesta played. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to hell.”
“We have to work hard to try to beat them. We have to be calm while they have the ball. When we have the ball, we have to counter quickly. They don’t like to have the ball, so we have” I have to make the best of it. “
France take Switzerland In the hope of avoiding embarrassment in the round of 16 against their neighbors after reaching the final at the last European Championship and winning the 2018 World Cup.
The world champion emerged unharmed from the “group of death” in Group F, but fought for the highest gear, lost points against Hungary and Portugal and won only one of the three games.
Coach Didier Deschamps defended his team’s previous performance, blaming the performance in the last group game against the Portuguese because of the heat exhaustion – and referred to the opponent’s three additional days of rest before the round of 16 game.
He said: “They are a well-structured team and with (Haris) Seferovic, (Breel) Embolo and (Xherdan) Shaqiri they have good attack potential. We can’t underestimate them and it’s a knockout game, so we have to we do everything we can to make sure we have a smile on our faces 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 here too, but a little easier to deal with. “
Switzerland came under fire after taking a point from games against Italy and Wales, but qualified for the round of 16 despite finishing third in Group A thanks to a brilliant win against Turkey in their final group game.
Striker Embolo, named a dangerous player by Deschamps, said he was impressed with Switzerland’s international formation at the tournament and said their strong dressing room would be the key to a shock.
He said, “For me personally, it doesn’t really matter [if I score or not]. The main thing is that we get to the next round. In general, I feel very good about the whole setup. We have a very good team. Even in the qualification phase, it was always about teamwork. “
Croatia versus Spain: Croatia will have to do without veteran midfielder Ivan Perisic, who scored two goals in the last group game against Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Dejan Lovren is also suspended in the group stage because of two yellow cards. Sime Vrsaljko, who sat out Scotland’s victory, is also doubtful.
Spain has no injury problems, has long since shaken off its own difficult preparations and welcomes Sergio Busquets back after a positive Covid-19 test result. However, they have four players who would be banned from a possible quarter-finals should they be booked, with Jordi Alba, Busquets, Pau Torres and Rodri all at risk.
France versus Switzerland: Lucas Digne hopes to play for France in the round of 16 despite limping just seven minutes after coming on from the last group game against Portugal. Ousmane Dembele’s tournament is completely over with a knee injury while Lucas Hernandez and Marcus Thuram both have doubts.
Switzerland have a full squad to choose from but like Spain have a number of suspensions above them should they reach the last eight. A booking for Embolo, Mario Gavranovic, Kevin Mbabu, Fabian Schar or Granit Xhaka would miss the game.
Key statistics …
Croatia last faced Spain in a competition in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League. While the Croatians won the most recent of these two duels (3-2 in November 2018), they lost the other 6-0 in September 2018, a result that remains their worst defeat in international football.
This will be the third major tournament meeting between Croatia and Spain, with both previous meetings of this kind taking place in the group stage of the European Championships. Both sides won once each: Spain in 2012 and Croatia in 2016.
After winning the Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and the Euro 2012, Spain dropped out of the last two big knockout rounds (World Cup / Euro): the last 16 phases of the EURO 2016 (against Italy) and the 2018 World Cup (v Russia) . Spain was last eliminated in three consecutive participations in the knockout phase at the 1994 World Cup, the Euro 1996 and the Euro 2000.
Croatia made it into the knockout round for the fourth time at its sixth European Championship tournament. However, in the last three games (quarter-finals in 1996 and 2008 and round of 16 in 2016) they did not make it past the last sixteen.
Spain boasted a higher total expected goals (xG) than any other team in the Euro 2020 group stage (8.8), although only Scotland (3-1 goal out of 4 xG) scored their xG by a higher total than the Spaniards ( 2.8 – 6.) Goals from 8.8 xG). In fact, the two players who were weakest in terms of xG in the group stage were Spaniards Gerard Moreno (0 goals out of 2.1 xG) and Álvaro Morata (1 goal out of 2.9 xG).
France are unbeaten in the last seven matches against Switzerland (3-U-4), the longest run against Switzerland ever undefeated, although four of the last five matches between the two teams have been equal.
This is the fifth encounter between France and Switzerland in a major competition (EM 2004, WM 2006, WM 2014, EM 2016), but the first in the knockout round. France are unbeaten in such games (S2 U2), with the last game at the Euro 2016 going goalless.
France has only lost one of its last 17 European and World Cup games together (S12 U4) – the 2016 European Championship final against Portugal.
Switzerland has reached the knockout round in each of its last four major tournament appearances (2014 World Cup, 2016 European Championship, 2018 World Cup, 2020 European Championship) – it was eliminated in each of these three previous instances in its first game after the group stage.
France have not lost a competitive game in over two years, most recently in a European Championship qualifier against Turkey in June 2019, 14 wins and five draws since then. France last had a long series unbeaten in competitive games from 1994 to 1999, a run of 27 games
Even with the euro …
Germany is not attempting a major penalty training session ahead of the European Championship 2020 round of 16 against England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday and is hoping to end the game within 90 minutes.
The Germans have won every single penalty shootout at the World Cup in which they participated, as well as two out of three at the European Championship, and only lost their first in the 1976 European Championship final against Czechoslovakia.
They defeated England in the 1996 semi-finals on penalties at Wembley before winning their third European crown.
“We’re going into the game with the desire to win it over 90 minutes,” said German midfielder Kai Havertz at a press conference at his team in Bavaria on Sunday.
“There could of course be penalties at this stage of the tournament, so we have to be prepared. Of course we took a few penalties after practice to see who the better penalty takers are.”
“But it’s not the biggest issue in the game. The 120 minutes before it could be a lot more important and put too much pressure on yourself.” [with penalties] is not good.”
England versus Germany: The big podcast preview from Sky Sports
Rivalries in international football are no bigger than England versus Germany. Since the two nations are on a collision course in the second round of Euro 2020, Sky Sports expert has Jamie Redknapp and Uli Kohler joined Peter Smith to analyze both camps ahead of Tuesday’s showdown at Wembley.
PART 1 | Jamie Redknapp, a member of the English squad who was banned from Germany in the ’96 European Championship, assesses the performance of the Three Lions in the Euro 2020 group stage and explains why Gareth Southgate’s talented squad has nothing to fear against the Germans.
PART 2 | The prospect of playing England at Wembley Stadium is one that every German player will enjoy regardless of an inconsistent group stage, according to Sky Deutschland reporter Uli Kohler, who in the second part talks about tactics, Jamal Musiala, Jadon Sancho and the dreaded prospect speaks to Peter on penalties.