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Euro 2024 Football News

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 7 Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs

Rahul Saha Rahul Saha

Day 7 of UEFA Euro 2024 is what we call the moving day in group stage football, for at the end of the day we’ll have a clear idea of what each team in every one of these groups need to do in order to secure knockout qualification. 

With Spain taking on Italy in the marquee fixture, followed by Slovakia squaring off against Ukraine and Poland locking horns with Austria, Day 7 of Euro 2024 brings us some mouth-watering encounters. 

Euro 2024 Match 18: Spain vs Italy | 12:30 am IST | June 21 

When Spain coach Luis de la Fuente sent his side out at Berlin’s Olympiastadion for their Euro 2024 opener, he could have hardly dreamt of a start where his team would return at half time with a three-goal lead over Croatia. 

Álvaro Morata, Fabián Ruiz, and Dani Carvajal all scored before the break to start the campaign with a resounding opening game victory. Spain also fielded the competition’s youngest player in Lamine Yamal, who created their third goal, and saw Unai Simon save a spot kick; a composed performance suggests they could be one of the challengers for the trophy this summer.

The three-time European champions will be hoping to add a fourth continental crown to their collection, having now lost just one of 11 competitive games under De la Fuente, winning each of the last seven.

However, Italy, on the other hand, started their title defence in the worst possible manner against Albania before quickly recovering to take the three points.

Though considered outsiders this summer, the Azzurri‘s ultimate ambition is to become just the second team to win successive Euros, following in the footsteps of Spain. First, though, they must make sure of their progress to the knockout phase.

La Roja beat Italy in successive UEFA Nations League semi-finals as they went on to win last year’s edition, but they have never before won three consecutive matches against Italy.

While Spain have held the upper hand of late, Italy memorably overcame them on penalties three years ago en route to their Euro 2020 glory.

Since losing to Spain in the Nations League last June, the new-look Italy side have only lost one in their last 12 matches, winning eight of them, and Luciano Spalletti has brought renewed vigour to a squad that had started to falter under Roberto Mancini.

When the two teams meet in Gelsenkirchen, a point apiece may be enough to see them both go through to the last 16, potentially allowing De la Fuente to rest key players against Albania, though plenty of pride will still be at stake here.

Team News 

Following last week’s win over Croatia, both Rodri and Morata have taken part in full training and will be available on Thursday, while Aymeric Laporte could make his return from injury.

Laporte missed Spain’s opening match entirely but could now return on the bench, with both Nacho Fernández and Robin Le Normand expected to continue in the centre of the Spain back four.

Few changes, if any, are expected of De la Fuente’s line-up, though Dani Olmo and Alejandro Grimaldo front a long queue of possible inclusions to the starting XI come matchday.

Meanwhile, Italy can also name an unchanged XI in Gelsenkirchen as all of their players were available for training following their victory over Albania.

Spalletti, however, has claimed that he will not be tied down to using only a particular formation, indicating some personnel changes could be in the offering. 

Form Guide

Spain

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-W-D-L
Most recent result: Spain 3-0 Croatia, Euro 2024 Group B 
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group A with 21 points 

Italy 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-D-W-W
Most recent result: Italy 2-1 Albania, Euro 2024 Group B
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group C with 14 points.

Prediction 

With both teams sitting comfortably on three points, we could see them both going for a free-flowing and aggressive approach, especially Spain, who face Albania next.

A win for either team almost guarantees top spot, which will be crucial given that the second-placed team will most likely face Germany in the Round of 16. 

Spain 1-1 Italy  

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarumma 
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Marc Cucurella
Midfielders: Pedri, Fabián Ruiz, Nicolò Barella, Jorginho, Rodri
Forwards: Federico Chiesa, Álvaro Morata
Captain: Nicolò Barella
Vice-captain: Rodri 

Also watch: Olivier Giroud to replace Kylian Mbappé after nose injury?

Euro 2024 Match 19: Slovakia vs Ukraine | 6:30 pm IST | June 21 

Nobody saw it coming when Slovakia pulled off one of the upsets of the European Championship when they beat Belgium 1-0 earlier this week. 

Belgium attempted 16 shots with five on goal, yet none of them found the back of the net. Ivan Schranz opened the scoring after seven minutes for Slovakia, which proved to be the decisive goal of the game.

With three points on the board, a win would assure the Slovaks a top-two finish in Group E with Belgium looking horns with Romania in the other encounter. 

Ukraine, on the other hand, must bounce back from their big 3-0 defeat to Romania. They were tipped by some to be the second-best team of this group, with a handful of young players eager to show their quality on the big stage. However, they were completely blown away by Romania in a 3-0 defeat.

Serhiy Rebrov’s men had a whopping 71% possession against Romania, but that translated to just two shots on target and very little goal threat. At the other end of the pitch, Andriy Lunin was beaten from outside the box twice as well as a with close-range tap-in.

With goal difference also against them, Ukraine know that only a win will do if they want to reach the last 16. 

Team News 

As long as there are no injury concerns, it would be a surprise to see Francesco Calzona make any changes to the side that started against Belgium.

Meanwhile, Ukraine will assess Vitaliy Mykolenko’s fitness after the Everton defender was forced to miss the opening game with a foot injury he sustained in the warm-up match against Moldova. Rebrov could also be tempted to freshen up his midfield, with Ruslan Malinovskyi in contention to start this game.

Form Guide

Slovakia 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-W-D-L
Most recent result: Slovakia 1-0 Belgium, Euro 2024 Group E 
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group J with 22 points

Ukraine

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-L-D-W
Most recent result: Romania 3-0 Ukraine, Euro 2024 Group E 
European Qualifying: Won the qualification playoff

Prediction 

Ukraine will be desperate to produce an improved display following their underwhelming performance against Romania. Given how both teams currently stand in the points table, there’s a possibility that Rebrov’s side will be held to a draw by Slovakia, who are unbeaten in four matches and boast a strong defence as demonstrated by their stubborn display against Belgium.

Slovakia 1-1 Ukraine

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Martin Dúbravka
Defenders: Dávid Hancko, Yukhym Konoplia, Milan Škriniar
Midfielders: Oleksandr Zinchenko, Georgiy Sudakov, Juraj Kucka, Ondrej Duda
Forwards: Mykhaylo Mudryk, Artem Dovbyk, Lukáš Haraslín
Captain: Artem Dovbyk 
Vice-captain: Juraj Kucka 

Euro 2024 Match 20: Poland vs Austria | 9:30 pm IST | June 21 

Poland and Austria meet at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Friday evening aware that neither of them can afford another defeat in Group D. Both teams began their respective Euro 2024 campaigns with defeats, with Poland going down 2-1 to then Netherlands and France edging out Austria by a 1-0 score line.

When Poland took the lead against the Netherlands on Sunday through a terrific Adam Buksa header, it appeared that the absence of Robert Lewandowski would not cost them. However, Micha? Probierz’s team had fortune on their side before they were ultimately pegged back by the half-hour mark, and Wout Weghorst’s winner hit the final nail in the coffin. 

While the return of Robert Lewandowski would represent a massive boost, Poland will have to find a way to repel what has quickly become a classy Austria side under Ralf Rangnick.

Austria had been on their own lengthy unbeaten run before taking on France on Monday night, avoiding defeat in seven games in succession. A first-half own goal from Maximilian Wöber ultimately saw that streak come to an end as France battled their way to a hard-earned win in Düsseldorf.

From a historical perspective, these two nations have a hostile past, but their only two meetings in the 16 years occurred in 2019, with Poland winning an away Euro 2020 qualifier by a single goal before the reverse fixture ended goalless.

Team News 

Although there is high expectation that Robert Lewandowski will be available for this fixture, Probierz may choose to keep the FC Barcelona man on the bench and bring him on only if deemed necessary. 

Karol ?widerski was also an injury concern for the Netherlands game, but having made an appearance in the second half in that game, the attacker may replace Kacper Urba?ski. Jakub Moder and Bartosz Slisz are both options to come into the midfield, although Probierz could be against making too many alterations.

Rangnick will also be wary of overly tinkering with his side, but Marko Arnautovi? is an obvious option to return in the final third. Patrick Wimmer might also get a run on the flanks, allowing Marcel Sabitzer to be used more centrally.

Form Guide

Poland

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-W-D-W
Most recent result: Poland 1-2 Netherlands, Euro 2024 Group D
European Qualifying: Finished 3rd in Group E with 11 points 

Austria 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-D-W-W-W
Most recent result: Austria 0-1 France, Euro 2024 Group D 
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group F, with 19 points.

Prediction 

With both nations having to find a balance between avoiding defeat and pushing for three points, I expect a tense and cagey affair in Berlin. Austria could have the better of the contest, but if Lewandowski returns as expected, we could see him making an impact.

Poland 1-1 Austria 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Wojciech Szcz?sny
Defenders: Jakub Kiwior, Phillip Mwene, Stefan Posch
Midfielders: Nicolas Seiwald, Piotr Zieli?ski, Marcel Sabitzer, Christoph Baumgartner, Nicola Zalewski
Forwards: Robert Lewandowski, Michael Gregoritsch
Captain: Christoph Baumgartner 
Vice-captain: Piotr Zieli?ski 

Also read

UEFA Euro 2024 Sponsors
Euro 2024: Favourites, Predictions, Place Your Bets in India With Expert Advice
Top 10 players to look out for at UEFA Euro 2024
Top 5 Dark Horses for UEFA Euro 2024
UEFA Euro 2024: When it Starts, Where it Is Taking Place, Which Teams Are Participating

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 7 Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs
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Rahul Saha

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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