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Spain's resurgence revolves around Busquets


No one should underestimate Switzerland. Teams that clinch unexpected wins tend to have nothing to lose and everything to gain and that is what makes them dangerous. Switzerland caused an upset by knocking out the big favourites, France, who had emerged top of the so-called 'Group of Death', a formidable group which lumped France, Portugal and Germany together with Hungary in the role of victims. We are talking about the reigning world champions, European champions and Germany - perennial favourites in every major tournament since the1970s. Euro 2020 has lost some great sides and great players, but the Last 16 produced some riveting contests - the best games we have seen so far.

Busquets' return has given Spain focus

Spain, in the opposite way to Italy, have improved as the competition has worn on. They can also be viewed as an interesting case – a side which started tentatively but perked up as they went along. Luis Enrique tweaked his line-up which helped, but much of Spain’s resurgence has been down to the return of Sergio Busquets, who brings meaning to their game in his role as the team’s axis. Spain’s game changed. They ditched the sterile, endless circulation of the ball and began playing a more dangerous, penetrating style of football. Now, Spain’s possession game isn’t only about making sure the opponents don't have the ball but about using it to punish the rivals.

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Xhaka ruled out

As for Switzerland, we’ll be reminded of that defeat at 2010 South Africa - one which Spain more than made up for, but that was their only win compared to Spain’s 16 and five draws in all of the 22 meetings between these two countries. The only thing is that this Switzerland side is better than the previous ones. They have players whose origins can be traced back to 17 different countries – the sons of workers who emigrated there to do the jobs which the locals found more tedious than counting money in the bank. That said, this evening they will be without Xhaka, their Busquets, and they will miss him. Luis Enrique is expected to keep the same XI or make minimal changes. Spain will play as they usually do, on the front foot and taking risks. Good luck, and go for it, Switzerland are no pushovers but neither are they a team to fear.