Euro 2020: Spanish flair braces for Swiss discipline
After shedding their early tournament jitters, free-scoring Spain look ready to emulate their serial-winning predecessors, although Euro 2020 quarter-final opponents Switzerland are exactly the type of team they hate to face.
Spain won their first knockout tie since lifting Euro 2012 to beat Croatia 5-3 and become the top scoring side in the tournament with 11 goals after netting only once in their first two games.
There was even more excitement among Spanish fans when unfancied Switzerland stunned world champions France after coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 and prevail on penalties.
Yet even though the Swiss lack stars, Spain must be prepared for a long evening finding their way through Vladimir Petkovic’s disciplined side on Friday in St Petersburg.
After Spain’s frustrating opening draws with Sweden and Poland, coach Luis Enrique said that facing a side sitting deep and defending was “the hardest thing in football”.
Switzerland hardly have the most resilient defence after conceding eight goals in four games but Petkovic, who has been using a 3-4-1-2 formation, is likely to set his side up to deprive Spain of space in the final third.
Towering striker Haris Seferovic, who scored two headed goals against France, also poses a serious aerial threat.
Spain keeper Unai Simon insisted his side were no more pleased to face Switzerland than France.
“It’s a quarter-final tie, we don’t depend on our opponents, we depend on ourselves. We don’t mind who we play, to win this tournament we have to face the best teams,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“The veterans always tell us big tournaments are won by teams, not names, and we are a team. I don’t know how far we’ll go but everyone can see how united we are. If we go behind or ahead, we’re all in it together,” he added.