Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Arena Națională (Bucharest)
The Arena Națională in Bucharest hosts its very first European Championship knockout tie, as France and Switzerland meet for a fifth time in nine major tournaments going back to 2004, with the latter still seeking a first H2H win since the start of this century (D4, L3).
A 2-2 draw against Euro 2016 winners Portugal on matchday three saw France progress to the knockout stages, and do so for a sixth time in their last seven Euro appearances. Confident after finishing first in Euro 2020’s ‘group of death’ (W1, D2), the world champions are richly expected to be quarter-finalists in a fifth successive major tournament.
France are also enjoying a run of 19 consecutive competitive matches without a loss (W14, D5), with ten of those wins being accompanied by a HT lead. Speaking of the HT break, France have also shut out their quiet neighbours in the opening 45 minutes during each of the previous five H2Hs.
Switzerland could only finish third behind Italy and Wales during the group stage (W1, D1, L1), despite being the second-highest FIFA-ranked team in Group A. In a trend that further justifies their underdog status, the Swiss have been eliminated at the round of 16 in each of their last three major tournaments.
If the match goes as widely expected, the first ‘nail’ in Switzerland’s coffin may be quick to arrive, with eight of Switzerland’s previous 11 competitive matches (excluding walkovers) witnessing the opening goal scored within 15 minutes.
Players to watch: With his two strikes against Portugal last time out, France’s Karim Benzema has scored four braces across his last six goalscoring international appearances. Meanwhile, Switzerland have won 12 (an 85.71% majority) of the 14 competitive matches to see talismanic Xherdan Shaqiri get on the scoresheet.
- France’s form in last 5 matches: DDWWW.
- Switzerland’s form in last 5 matches: WLDWW
PREDICTION: Home/Draw Under 4.5