Euro 2020 quarterfinal betting preview
Several giants remain, including 2012 finalists Spain and Italy, world No. 1 Belgium, and finals host England. There are also a few dark horses making legitimate runs at glory. But the quarterfinals have arrived and will soon separate the pretenders from the contenders.
|Switzerland (+460)||Draw (+275)||Spain (-150)|
|Belgium (+235)||Draw (+215)||Italy (+135)|
|Czech Republic (+280)||Draw (+225)||Denmark (+110)|
|Ukraine (+700)||Draw (+335)||England (-235)|
Switzerland vs. Spain
July 2, 12 p.m. ET
These sides took part in the most exciting games of the round of 16, and questions about their mental and physical fitness must be asked ahead of this quarterfinal clash. Spain squandered a late 3-1 lead against Croatia before recovering in extra time, while Switzerland battled back from a late 3-1 deficit before shocking world champion France in penalties.
The temptation here is to ride the wave with Switzerland, but its win over France felt more like a case of catching lightning in a bottle than anything else. Les Bleus were largely dominant, with a brief lapse in concentration proving to be their undoing. La Roja nearly endured a similar fate but managed to persevere, and that will go a long way moving forward.
Spain seems to have figured things out in attack - the lone question mark surrounding Luis Enrique's side heading into the tournament. There's no evidence to suggest the goals will dry up against a Swiss team that has yet to keep a clean sheet and will be without the integral Granit Xhaka in midfield. Switzerland's memorable run ends here.
Pick: Spain (-150)
Belgium vs. Italy
July 2, 3 p.m.
It was hardly convincing, but Belgium's golden generation kept hopes alive of finally winning silverware. Thorgan Hazard's terrific strike secured the Red Devils a place in the quarters, but they were largely hanging on for dear life against Portugal, outscored 1.53 to 0.26 on expected goals. It's been a theme for them throughout, and with injuries piling up, it feels as though their luck is wearing thin.
Belgium will miss Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard dearly in attack, and their absences will place an added burden on Romelu Lukaku. There are also concerns about Axel Witsel in midfield. The Dortmund man has played very little football in 2021 due to injury, and he appeared incredibly labored in the latter stages against Portugal. Anything but his best will be problematic against an Italy side built to dominate in midfield.
The Azzurri were far from their best against Austria, but they still conceded very little despite a lethargic attack that eventually picked up in extra time. It was something of a wake-up call for Italy, reminiscent of the 2006 World Cup in which the nation coasted through the group stage and barely topped Australia in the round of 16 before kicking back into high gear. Against a shorthanded Belgium side, look for the Azzurri to find that gear again and book their place in the semifinals.
Pick: Italy (+135)
Czech Republic vs. Denmark
July 3, 12 p.m.
Few sides are clicking quite like a Denmark team that's outscored its opponents 8-1 over the past two matches, but a stubborn and vastly underappreciated Czech Republic squad is a real step up in class. We touched on how difficult it is to break down this strong-spined Czech side ahead of its date with the Netherlands. The Czechs were terrific in that 2-0 win, and while a Matthijs de Ligt red card certainly helped, surrendering just 0.74 expected goals against the best attack of the group stage is certainly something they can hang their hats on.
We're quite high on both these sides. They are well-coached and organized, proving very stubborn to play against. They're set up well to navigate through the grind that is knockout-stage football, and that should make for a very cagey affair in Baku. Kasper Dolberg did well to lead the line for Denmark in the absence of Yussuf Poulsen, but the stingy Czech defense will be a far tougher assignment. Goals will be scarce - the under warrants a look here - as these sides will likely need extra time, and quite possibly penalties, to settle things.
Pick: Draw (+225)
Ukraine vs. England
July 3, 3 p.m.
"It's coming home" is being shouted from rooftops across England after the Three Lions exorcised their demons by beating Germany in the round of 16 to set up a relatively kind path to the final. But for it to come home, England must first leave home, as Gareth Southgate's men will play away from Wembley Stadium for the first and only time in this tournament.
Southgate's team selection came under fire, but England's performance against Germany vindicated his choices. It's possible he reverts to a back-four to get Jack Grealish into attack, especially for a match in which the Three Lions will be expected to force the issue and push on in possession. Regardless, they should have their way with a Ukraine defense that has yet to keep a clean sheet and was roughly six inches from conceding three in the round of 16.
Andriy Shevchenko's side was lucky to reach extra time against Sweden before benefitting from a truly questionable red card. Credit to Ukraine for capitalizing against 10 men, but those extra 30 minutes will do it no favors: Tired legs typically equate to sloppiness in defense - a real concern considering how much this team already struggled in that regard. Shevchenko and Co. will be forced to open things up eventually, at which point they do have the talent in attack to threaten England's clean-sheet streak.
Pick: Over 2.5 (-105)
Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.