The group stage has finished, and Euro 2016 is coming to a head as we get closer to determining who will lift the trophy. As such, I will be posting detailed previews of every match for the rest of the tournament, including team news, past form and the key factors that will decide each game. Enjoy.
Switzerland vs Poland, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne
Albania 0, Switzerland 1 (Schar 5)
Romania 1 (Stancu 18 pen), Switzerland 1 (Mehmedi 57)
Switzerland 0, France 0
Poland 1 (Milik 51), Northern Ireland 0
Germany 0, Poland 0
Ukraine 0, Poland 1 (Blaszczykowski 54)
The Swiss did not change their team much throughout the group stage, and the only selection headache that looms for Vladimir Petkovic surrounds the attack. Breel Embolo is expected to retain his place over Haris Seferovic, but the spot is still up for grabs.
Likely team (4-2-3-1): Sommer – Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Mehmedi; Embolo.
Wojciech Szczesny is still suffering from the thigh injury he picked up against Northern Ireland, and he will miss a third consecutive match. Lukasz Fabianski will continue to replace him in goal, and will be aiming for a third consecutive clean sheet when he takes the field. Jakub Blaszczykowski was Poland’s sole scorer in their final match, and he should return to the starting line-up along with Lukasz Piszczek, Kamil Grosicki and Krzysztof Maczynski.
Likely team (4-4-2): Fabianski – Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk; Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski, Grosicki; Milik, Lewandowski.
Keys to success
The Swiss defence has been solid throughout, and it will need to hold firm against a star-studded Polish attack. Up front, they need to find some inspiration, and they will need to find something fast to beat a defence which has not yet conceded in this tournament. Petkovic will be looking for Granit Xhaka, Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami to dominate the Polish in the middle, and will look to keep the ball away from the dangerous Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski is arguably the best striker at the Euros, but he has been heavily marked throughout and has failed to score in three games. His inability to find the back of the net is the main cause of Poland’s disappointing goal tally, and the Polish are relying on him finding his form in this game. The extra treatment Lewandowski has received has led to plenty of excellent opportunities for Arkadiusz Milik, and he needs to start taking his chances.
The game will probably be played on Poland’s terms, and with the incredible quality of Lewandowski and Milik up front it is hard to see them losing. The Swiss are solid defensively, and could definitely hold out for a draw, but their lack of potency up front will be a serious problem. Poland 1-0.