Switzerland will hope to make it two wins in two in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers when they welcome Denmark to St-Jakob Park on Tuesday.
The international break has but a few days left before players return to their respective clubs. But, before that, a few important fixtures remain, one of which will be played out in Basel, as Switzerland play hosts to Denmark at St-Jakob Park on Tuesday in their second UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier.
The hosts come into the game on the back of a run-of-the-mill 2-0 win over Georgia as they continued to build the momentum from their 5-2 win over Belgium in the previous international break. That win also helped Switzerland clinch Group 2 in UEFA Nations League A, which means they already have a playoff spot sealed, should they fail to qualify automatically from the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
Denmark too, won their group in the Nations League, staving off tough competition from Wales and Republic of Ireland to secure promotion to League A. But, a 2-2 draw with unfancied Kosovo does not make for the best of preparations for their UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, especially against a side as strong as Switzerland.
Denmark prevailed the last time they locked horns with Switzerland with a 2-1 scoreline courtesy of a Jon Dahl Tomasson winner. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Vladimir Petkovic has seen two of his most important players pull out of the squad for the latest set of international fixtures. Xherdan Shaqiri had already withdrawn his name ahead of the game against Georgia, and the Liverpool star has now been joined on the sidelines by Fabian Schar, who will not face Denmark.
Nico Elvedi is likely to replace Schar at the heart of the defence, with Manuel Akanji taking over the mantle of being the leader at the back. The full-back slots should be occupied by Ricardo Rodriguez and Kevin Mbabu, with Stephan Lichtsteiner dropping out. Yann Sommer will man the Swiss goal.
In the middle of the park, the onus will be on Granit Xhaka to drive his side forward and make quick transitions, while Denis Zakaria will screen the backline. Remo Freuler will be the workhorse in midfield while Steven Zuber and Breel Embolo should be the wingers, who will be tasked with providing the creativity from out wide.
Upfront, with Haris Seferovic not a part of the latest Switzerland squad, Albian Ajeti should lead the line for the hosts.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Sommer; Mbabu, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Zakaria, Freuler; Embolo, Ajeti, Zuber
The Danish squad does not have many notable absentees from the last iteration picked by Age Hareide, with just Pione Sisto and Andreas Cornelius missing out. But, Denmark still bear a strong look, especially in attack, where the majority of the major changes have taken place.
The onus though, still rests with Christian Eriksen to inspire the side to the positive results. The 27-year-old playmaker should be stationed in the hole in the final third, with Nicolai Jorgensen leading the line for Denmark. The two wide men should be Yussuf Poulsen and Martin Braithwaite, both of whom need to step up.
Lasse Schone has been a man in form for Ajax lately, but should be trumped by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to be the box-to-box midfielder for Denmark. His partner in the middle of the park should be Thomas Delaney, who will be the Anchor Man in front of the defence.
Speaking of the defence, Zanka and Simon Kjaer are expected to line up at the heart of the defence, with Peter Ankersen and Jens Stryger Larsen being the full-backs. Behind them, Kasper Schmeichel should be the goalkeeper of choice once again.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Ankersen, Kjaer, Zanka, Larsen; Delaney, Hojbjerg; Poulsen, Eriksen, Braithwaite; Nicolai Jorgensen
- Switzerland and Denmark have previously met 10 times, with the visitors holding a narrow head-to-head advantage with three wins (D5 L2).
- Denmark have only been beaten over the course of 90 minutes just once in their last 15 outings (W6 D8).
- Switzerland are undefeated in their last 7 matches in the UEFA Euro Qualifiers.
- By contrast, Denmark have failed to win each of their last 5 UEFA European Championship qualification fixtures.
- Switzerland have never lost at home to Denmark (W1 D1).
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Denmark have been known to be a goal shy side that has often been in need of individual brilliance from Christian Eriksen. With the other front men in the side not stepping up on a regular basis, Tuesday’s story could be much of the same, with Eriksen shouldering much of the burden for the visitors.
Should he step up to the plate once again, Denmark could be primed for a crucial win in their opening fixture in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
Switzerland 1-1 Denmark
The match pits two sides that have been known to be goal shy (apart from Switzerland’s recent 5-2 win over Belgium). Add to it the fact that both Vladimir Petkovic and Age Hareide lay an emphasis on their respective squads to be well organised defensive units means that there are unlikely to be many goals involved in the tie.
Expect the game to be largely contested in the midfield, with chances coming few and far between. The visitors should depend largely on the individual brilliance of Christian Eriksen, while Granit Xhaka and Breel Embolo ought to be the driving forces for Switzerland.
In the end, there should be very little to separate the two sides, and The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw in Basel on Tuesday.