Day 8 of Euro 2016 gives us Group D, with Spain facing Turkey as the main event of the evening, while the Czech Republic and Croatia serving as the aperitief. In Group D, Italy will try to keep the momentum going against Sweden, looking for their first win of the tournament.
Both Spain and Croatia can clinch a spot in the next round with a win, both the more likely results. The same can be said for Italy, while Sweden will probably be pleased with a draw, even if it forces them to beat Belgium on the final matchday.
Italy vs Sweden: After impressing everyone with their tactical superiority against Belgium, Italy will face a different kind of team; one that doesn’t mind giving up possession, and relies on long balls to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has a pretty good record against Italian defenses. Sweden have a problem at right back which Italy could take advantage of, and in general, leaving room behind and getting drawn out to press the Italian defense and midfield usually makes things easier for Italy. Overall, Italy should be able to show some midfield dominance for once, and if that unit plays with pace and purpose, things could be easy for Italy early on.
Czech Republic vs Croatia: We saw nothing from the Czechs in the first match except for parking the bus. Against Croatia, we’ll see something of a playmakers duel between Tomas Rosicky and Luka Modric, but it’ll probably be the ability of Ivan Rakitic that could be more determinant to how well Croatia do, while the Czechs will be looking to work their wings a bit more, and especially Hoffenheim’s Pavel Kaderabek.
Spain vs Turkey: Every match against Spain seems to be the same. The problem for Turkey is that they struggle remaining disciplined tactically, as they were against Croatia. Against a Spanish side that will get about 60% or more of possession, not being patient and staying in the proper formation is a recipe for disaster. After already losing one match, Turkey can’t afford another loss, and even a draw isn’t a very helpful result.