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England vs Switzerland: ‘It’s coming home’ dream facing potential banana skin

Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf is the venue as England and Switzerland battle it out for a place in the 2024 European Championship semi-finals on Saturday.

England entered Euro 2024 as pre-tournament favourites, but despite making it to the quarter-finals, their performances have flattered to deceive.

Seeking a third semi-final appearance of an elite international tournament under heavily criticised manager Gareth Southgate, the Three Lions head into proceedings under significant pressure.

Jude Bellingham’s stunning 95th-minute overhead kick salvaged Southgate’s skin as England secured a last-gasp draw against Slovakia in the last-16 before progressing in extra time.

Bayern Munich forward Harry Kane struck home only a minute into extra time to complete the turnaround and maintain England’s hopes of winning their first continental title.

Despite only losing once across their last 24 matches against Switzerland (W18, D5), Southgate’s men would be well-advised not to take anything for granted against the ‘giant slayers’.

Switzerland pulled off a massive upset in the Euro 2020 last-16, eliminating reigning World Cup holders France on penalties.

Murat Yakin’s side continue to be a thorn in the side of European heavyweights.


Goals from Remo Freuler and Ruben Vargas inspired the Swiss to a well-deserved 2-0 victory against defending champions Italy in the opening knockout round.

Switzerland had set up that tie as Group A runners-up after remarkably avoiding defeat in a tough-looking section alongside Germany, Hungary and Scotland (W1, D2).

Landmark occasion for Southgate

Saturday’s match in Dusseldorf will be Southgate’s 100th game in charge of England.

The 53-year-old becomes only the third Three Lions boss to reach this flattering milestone, and he’ll look to celebrate this achievement with another win.

Anything other than semi-final qualification would likely spell the end of Southgate’s tenure, with England bidding to grow into the tournament following a sluggish start.

Of the eight teams competing in the quarter-finals, they’ve mustered a tournament-low average of three shots on target per game, failing to score more than once in regulation across all four matches.

Bellingham and Kane have shouldered the scoring burden, netting two goals apiece, with the Real Madrid ace netting a last-minute equaliser in two of his last three scoring appearances for his country.

England will probably need other stars to step up to avoid another nerve-shredding contest after their last five internationals separated the teams by a final margin of under 1.5 goals.

Swiss up against quarter-final hoodoo

It’s Switzerland’s fifth quarter-final appearance at major tournaments. But they’ve been out in all four previous attempts like clockwork.

They’re the only European nation to have appeared in as many last-eight ties without securing semi-final qualification, highlighting the size of the task at hand.

Yakin will be confident about achieving that quantum leap in Germany after his side demolished Italy and gave the Germans a run for their money in a dramatic 1-1 draw on matchday three.

Switzerland’s form inspires further confidence, with the Red Crosses only losing three of their last 14 internationals (W6, D5), not to mention their free-firing displays at Euro 2024.

Only Germany and Spain have scored more goals than the Swiss’ seven, and Yakin will put the nation’s fate in the hands of his free-flowing frontline in this mouth-watering tie.

England vs Switzerland potential line-ups

England (3-5-2): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, Ezri Konsa, John Stones; Trippier, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka; Harry Kane, Ivan Toney.

Switzerland (3-4-2-1): Yann Sommer; Schar, Ricardo Rodriguez, Manuel Akanji; Silvan Widmer, Granit Xhaka, Remo Freuler, Michel Aebischer; Dan Ndoye, Ruben Vargas; Breel Embolo.

Prediction

Southgate will reportedly make wide-ranging changes to his starting line-up to reinvigorate the sleeping giants, but it could be a double-edged sword this deep into the tournament.

England are pre-match favourites. Although we can’t back them for success with conviction, they should navigate this tricky task and reach the semi-finals.

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