Spain travel to Basel to face off against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League in an attempt to bounce back to winning ways.
The international games continue to come in hard and fast, with the UEFA Nations League this weekend following the set of international games from earlier this week. One of which comes in a rather exciting encounter in the form of Switzerland hosting Spain at the St. Jakob Arena in Basel.
Switzerland sit fourth in the Nations League, League A, Group 4, which consists of some other world beaters as well like Ukraine, Germany, and Spain of course. That said, they have managed to get their points through two draws against Germany, and a loss each against Ukraine and Spain. Last night, they took on Belgium, losing 2-1 courtesy of a brace from Michy Batshuayi.
Spain, on the contrary, have enjoyed a fantastic start, losing just one game so far — the recent gameweek against Ukraine. Apart from that, it has been a bed of roses, with a draw against Germany also a more than an encouraging point. The 1-1 draw against the Netherlands will motivate them an awful lot, though, as they hope to depart to club football with a win against both Switzerland and Germany.
The last meeting between Spain and Switzerland ended in a 1-0 win for the Spaniards, with Mikel Oyarzabal scoring the only goal of the game early in the 14th minute. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Vladimir Petkovic called up 24 players to his team for the games against Belgium, Spain, and Ukraine. Both Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri have been included in the team and are expected to feature tomorrow against Spain.
Aufgebot / Sélection / Convocazione
11.11, 20h45, Bruxelles
14.11, 20h45, Basel
17.11, 20h45, Luzern
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Yann Sommer is enjoying another brilliant season with Borussia Mönchengladbach, and there is little doubt over his starting spot in the team between the sticks. We expect Switzerland to revert to a four-person defence after fielding a backline of five against Belgium.
The duo of Nico Elvedi and Manuel Akanji will take on the pitch to shield Sommer in the heart of the defence, while Silvan Widmer and Ricardo Rodriguez are given the responsibility to provide the width from the back.
The second layer on the pitch will be a four-person midfield with two wide midfielders in the form of Eintracht Frankurt’s Steven Zuber on the left, while Premier League champions Xherdan Shaqiri on the right side. These two will be flanking a double pivot with Remo Freuler joining Granit Xhaka to provide safety to the backline.
Breel Embolo partnered Mario Gavranovic in the twin striker system upfront, but it is expected that the latter will replace Haris Seferovic in the team completing Embolo’s ball-playing ability.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Sommer; Widmer, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Shaqiri, Freuler, Xhaka, Zuber; Seferovic, Embolo
Luis Enrique named a 26-man squad for Spain’s games in this international break but was hit with a couple of misses in the form of first, Ansu Fati, who tore his internal meniscus and has been ruled out for four months. This was followed by Luis Gaya, who suffered a head injury against the Netherlands, following which has left the Spanish camp.
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Marco Asensio has replaced Fati in the team, but the Real Madrid man is expected to be replaced by Adama Traore in the front-three, with Gerard Moreno leading the line. Ferran Torres will be the final peg in the puzzle in the offensive line, fitting in on the left-wing hoping to replicate some of that impressive form he has shown for Manchester City.
Mikel Merino will also return to Lucho’s starting XI, slotting in on the right of Sergio Busquets, who will be given the responsibility to anchor the midfield acting as a screening midfielder in a 4-3-3. Marcos Llorente, despite his brilliant form for Atletico Madrid, is expected to start on the bench, with Fabian Ruiz coming in as the third midfielder.
Finally, in the backline, we can hope to see captain Sergio Ramos return to his place in the heart of the defence, partnering Pau Torres. Hector Bellerin got his first Spain in the midweek, start since 2016, but was far from impressive.
Jesus Navas might warrant the spot over him against Switzerland, with the talented Sergio Reguilon on the left. Marc Cucrella, who has replaced Gaya, will see the game out from the bench. David de Gea has been Enrique’s first choice and will replace Unai Simon in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Navas, Ramos, Pau, Reguilon; Ruiz, Busquets, Merino; Traore, Moreno, Ferran
- Spain and Switzerland have played 21 games against each other, with Spain winning 16 of them (D4, L1).
- The only time Switzerland managed to beat Spain was in the 2010 FIFA World Cup which Spain famously went on to win.
- Spain have scored 47 goals against Switzerland in these 21 games while conceding only 17.
- Luis Enrique have Vladimir Petkovic have come across each other only once, with the Spaniard winning their meeting.
- Switzerland are winless in six games and have not managed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven games.
Player to Watch
Gerard Moreno is undoubtedly one of the best strikers in world football at this point and not just the La Liga. The Spaniard has scored four goals and set up one in the league in just seven appearances, that too playing out of position, through the right.
He has been mostly used on the right by Luis Enrique as well, but with Alvaro Morata having a less than convincing outing against the Netherlands, we expect Moreno to take over.
The 28-year-old will be crucial against Switzerland as well, as the Swiss mostly line up in a double block, but are too vulnerable through the wings and against players who operate in the hole. Moreno must drop off behind Xhaka and Freuler to find space to exploit, before launching threatening passes to Spain’s speedy wingers in Adama Traore and Ferran Torres.
Switzerland 0-2 Spain
Switzerland look far from a threatening side at the moment, and the creativity displayed by Breel Embolo and Xherdan Shaqri gets lost in a team that does not take its chances when they arrive.
The defence is not much better, and even though both of Nico Elvedi and Manuel Akanji look like top-class players at the moment with their respective clubs, it will not be surprising to see both of them crumbling when faced with the speed of Spain’s attack.
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