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Sports News of Monday, 28 June 2021

Source: Betway Ghana

France and Spain tipped to qualify for quarter-finals at the Euros

France take on Switzerland hoping to avoid a last-16 embarrassment against their neighbours France take on Switzerland hoping to avoid a last-16 embarrassment against their neighbours

World Cup 2018 winners France and Euro 2012 champions Spain enter the Euro 2020 knockout stages against Switzerland and Croatia respectively on Monday.

Spain finally kick-started their tournament with a 5-0 win over Slovakia to reach the last 16, having flattered to deceive in their two other group games against Sweden and Poland.

They face, on paper, a tough task against 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia, who three years on from a superb run to the last two had toiled at this tournament until their final group game when a 3-1 win over Scotland saw them finally click into gear.

Should Spain forward Dani Olmo feature in Copenhagen, there will be an extra dimension for the RB Leipzig frontman, who spent six years playing in Croatia, coming through the academy set-up at Dinamo Zagreb before leaving for the Bundesliga last year.

He said: "This is a big, special match for me. I have a lot of friends in the Croatia team. I knew I would be a Spain international one day and that I would play against Croatia."

One of the Croatia players still in the team from that 2018 final is Domagoj Vida, who at 32 is old enough to remember playing against Spain in full flow and winning back-to-back Euros titles in 2008 and 2012.

He stoked the tension slightly ahead of Monday's game by saying the current Spanish side could not match up to that of the last decade - but he still expects a stern test at the Parken Stadium.

He said: "Spain are a great team, with great players but I think they were far better when the likes of Xavi (Hernandez) and (Andres) Iniesta were playing. But that doesn't mean that hell isn't awaiting us.

"We'll have to work hard to try to beat them. We must remain calm while they have the ball. When we have the ball, we have to counter-attack quickly. They don't like not having the ball, so we'll have to make the most of that."

France take on Switzerland hoping to avoid a last-16 embarrassment against their neighbours, after reaching the final at the last European Championships and winning the World Cup in 2018.

The world champions emerged unscathed from the 'group of death' in Group F but struggled to hit top gear, dropping points against Hungary and Portugal and winning only one of their three matches.

Coach Didier Deschamps defended his side's performances so far, blaming heat exhaustion for their display in their final group game against the Portuguese - and pointing to their opponents' three added days of rest ahead of their last-16 game.

He said: "They're a well-structured team and they have good attacking potential with (Haris) Seferovic, (Breel) Embolo and (Xherdan) Shaqiri. We must not underestimate them and it's a knockout game so we'll have to do everything we can to ensure we have smiles on our faces at the end of the match.

Team news

Croatia vs Spain: Croatia are without veteran midfielder Ivan Perisic, who scored twice in their final group game against Scotland, after he tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. Dejan Lovren is also suspended for two yellow cards in the group stages. Sime Vrsaljko, who sat out that Scotland win, is also a doubt.

Spain have no injury troubles, having long since shaken off their own troubled preparations and welcoming back Sergio Busquets from a Covid-19 positive test result. They do, however, have four players who would be suspended for any potential quarter-final should they be booked, with Jordi Alba, Busquets, Pau Torres and Rodri all in danger.

France vs Switzerland: Lucas Digne is hopeful of featuring for France in the last 16 despite limping out of their final group game with Portugal only seven minutes after coming on. Ousmane Dembele's tournament is over altogether with a knee injury, while Lucas Hernandez and Marcus Thuram are both doubts.

Switzerland have a full squad to choose from, but like Spain have a number of suspensions hanging over them should they reach the last eight. A booking for Embolo, Mario Gavranovic, Kevin Mbabu, Fabian Schar or Granit Xhaka would see them miss that game.

Euro 2020 update is by courtesy of BetWay. Bet responsibly. Not open to persons under 18 years.