Saturday night’s UEFA Nations League action will see Spain attempting to seal a spot in the top four as they look to maintain their unbeaten record in Group B with two wins and two draws from four games played. They’ll take on Switzerland, who have won one and lost three, in Zaragoza at Estadio La Romareda.
Luis Enrique’s team won the reverse fixture in Geneva in June by a single goal to nil thanks to Pablo Sarabia, and will be hoping to repeat that feat in what will be their last game on Spanish soil before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar kicks off in November.
Spain v Switzerland Bet Builder Tips
Spain to Win
Spain are the clear favourites for this game, but not only because they boast more quality in their squad. The home advantage should be important, with the stadium expected to be a complete sell-out as La Roja return to Zaragoza for the first time in 19 years, while it seems Spain are taking this autumn’s Nations League games more seriously than most.
Luis Enrique is an intense kind of coach and you could say that he takes everything seriously, but he is especially keen to win this match and to ensure Spain finish top of their Nations League group. The loss to France in the final of the last edition of the Nations League really affected the Spain coach and he has made it an explicit goal to win this season’s tournament.
Therefore, while other international coaches are using this week’s matches more like a pre-World Cup experiment period, Luis Enrique is not thinking about November and is expected to name his strongest possible line-up for this match.
Meanwhile, Switzerland boss Murat Yakin is one of those “other” coaches who appears to be using this time to prepare for the World Cup. Even though they are fighting to avoid Nations League relegation and even though Yakin has said his focus is on these games, his actions suggest otherwise as he has called up to his September squad some players who aren’t fully fit right now but who he clearly wants around the camp ahead of the trip to Qatar.
Simply by taking this Nations League campaign more seriously than Switzerland, Spain should have a further advantage in addition to their superior quality.
Under 2.5 Goals
When these two sides met earlier in this Nations League campaign, squaring off in Geneva in June, Spain won the match 1-0 thanks to an early Pablo Sarabia goal. But, they couldn’t build on that strike and were left hanging on.
That match was typical of both these sides’ strengths and weaknesses. Spain dominated the ball by posting 66 percent possession, but they didn’t create too many chances with it, only mustering three shots on target. Switzerland, meanwhile, defended deep against Spain and defended well, leaving little space and fouling when they needed to, staying in the game to the final whistle even if they themselves only managed one shot on target.
It had been a similar story over the 90 minutes of their Euro 2020 meeting the summer before, which finished 1-1 with two shots on target each and with 69 percent possession for Spain, who ultimately went on to win on penalties.
There is little reason to believe that this match will be all that different to the previous meetings. Spain should have the majority of possession and Switzerland should be happy to let them have it, with both sides only creating a few chances each out of this arrangement. With top quality goalkeepers like Unai Simón and Yann Sommer between the posts, only one or two of those chances should turn into goals.
Álvaro Morata to Score Anytime
When it comes to the leading man to get onto the scoresheet, you’d have to look towards Atlético Madrid forward Álvaro Morata. Averaging a goal every 140 minutes in LaLiga this season, he has looked confident and deadly. In particular, he’ll come into this game fresh and with a point to prove having been dropped by Diego Simeone for the Madrid derby last weekend, coming on as a substitute after the hour mark.
A differential factor for Morata could be his aerial ability. Spain rank fourth across all of the UEFA nations involved in the Nations League in terms of crosses per 90 (14.6) and Morata has LaLiga’s fifth highest success rate in aerial duels this season at 42%. At 37.3%, Switzerland’s success rate in aerial duels is among the lowest in the top tier of the Nations League and Morata’s aerial abilities could be crucial to breaking down the Swiss defence.
The fact that this is a home game will help Morata’s chances as his last four goals for Spain, and 58% of his total number of international goals, have come on Spanish turf. In fact, March 2019 was the last time Morata scored away from home in a non-tournament fixture, with eight goals for his country in Nations League and qualifying matches since then.
Morata is also a fairly safe bet to start, despite the potential for experimentation ahead of the World Cup. He has started five of Spain’s last six matches, while the only other centre forward in Luis Enrique’s squad is uncapped Borja Iglesias.
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Spain predicted XI (4-3-3): Simon; Carvajal, Garcia, Torres, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Koke; Sarabia, Morata, Torres
Switzerland predicted XI (4-3-3): Omlin; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Freuler, Xhaka, Sow; Shaqiri, Seferovic, Embolo
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How to watch Spain v Switzerland in the Nations League?
📅 When is Spain v Switzerland? / Saturday, 24th September 2022, 7:45PM
🏟 Where is Spain v Switzerland? / La Romareda (Zaragoza)
📺 What TV channel is Spain v Switzerland on? / BoxNation
🟨 …And who is the referee for Spain v Switzerland? / C. Turpin 🇫🇷