We’re down to the final eight of Euro 2020, with, coincidentally, eight Chelsea players still involved as well — third most to Dynamo Kiev (who compromise much of the Ukraine squad) and Manchester City.
Half of that Chelsea contingent will be, or at least could be in action today, in the “tougher” side of the bracket, starting with César Azpilicueta for Spain, who finally seems to be getting the proper recognition in his native land as well — though Azpi was born in the Basque region (Pamplona), but let’s not delve too deeply into geopolitics. The Chelsea captain has started the last two games, and even got on the scoresheet in the Round of 16 with his first international goal as Spain scored five for the second game running in a 5-3 extra-time win over Croatia.
They will be expected to dispatch Switzerland, who have pulled off the shock of the tournament thus far by eliminating France in the previous round.
SWITZERLAND vs. SPAIN
Date / Time: Friday, July 2, 2021, 17.00 BST; 12pm EDT
Venue: Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg, Russia
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
On TV: ITV 1 (UK); ESPN, Univision (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: ITV Hub (UK); ESPN+, PrendeTV (USA)
While neither Michy Batshuayi nor Emerson are expected to feature, Jorginho should certainly be at the heart of Italy’s midfield once again in this massive showdown against the FIFA’s highest ranking team and their large collection of ex-Chelsea talent. Two of those, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard came off with injuries against Portugal in the Round of 16, and the latter remains a doubt. Romelu Lukaku meanwhile has the inside track to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.
Should be a good one!
BELGIUM vs. ITALY
Date / Time: Friday, July 2, 2021, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Referee: Slavko Vinčić (SLO)
On TV: BBC One (UK); ESPN (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); ESPN+, PrendeTV (USA)