Switzerland have already caused one seismic shock at the European Championship, but they may not be able to repeat the trick against Spain in St Petersburg.
For the Swiss it feels like Tuesday’s win over France on penalties was their cup final and it could be difficult for Vladimir Petkovic’s side to raise themselves again, especially so soon after the dramatic defeat of the world champions.
The Swiss showed huge courage to fight their way back from 3-1 down in the final ten minutes, although the booking to captain Granit Xhaka means he is suspended.
There’s no doubt Xhaka saves his best form for his country and the midfielder is almost like a different player from the one who struggles to show his best at club level for Arsenal.
One Goal no Handicap for Slick Spain
Spain are fairly priced at
4/13 to reach the semi-finals and it may be better to take them on the Asian handicap -1 goal at
Punters will collect if Spain win by two or more goals and have their stakes returned if La Roja win by one goal, while anything else is a loser.
Luis Enrique’s side have certainly clicked into gear in the last two matches, beating Slovakia 5-0 and Croatia 5-3 after extra-time.
That Croatia game was not a fair reflection of the tie – apart from an absurd mistake from keeper Unai Simon for a Pedri own goal – Spain dominated for most of the normal time and it was only a crazy late spell which took the game beyond 90 minutes.
Pedri is running the show in midfield and Alvaro Morata’s well-taken goal against the Croats should have given him some much-needed confidence.
Morata Could be Caught in a Trap
Morata gets untold flak from Spanish supporters, but head coach Enrique loves his all-round game, so he looks destined to once again lead the line.
He can be frustrating, playing on the last line of the defence where he does stray into offside positions and earlier in the 2020/21 club season he managed the quite remarkable feat of “scoring” a hat-trick of offside goals for Juventus against Barcelona.
Burly Swiss striker Haris Seferovic won’t be running beyond the Spanish defence too often and the speedy Breel Embolo has been dropping deep to dribble at opponents, which makes Spain interesting contenders at
57/20 in the matchbet offside market.
Spain Have a Spot of Bother
Spain have missed their last five penalties which could make the
31/4 about them fluffing their lines from 12 yards of interest once again, with Morata one of those to fall foul of the spot-kick curse.
However, apart from some wayward finishing, Morata has got into some superb positions in this tournament and has notched twice.
He opened the scoring against Poland and at
100/30 looks by the far the man most likely to break the deadlock, given most of the Spanish side prefer to pass the ball rather than take on shots themselves.
*All odds correct at time of writing