Expect a cagey but ultimately dry game between Finland and Russia as neither have really impressed going forward, basing their style of play off of rigid defensive systems. Finland won their previous game against Denmark in what can be best described as one of the most emotional games of international football we’ve ever seen. Finland sit second in Group “B” so a draw against Russia and an expected loss against Belgium will likely be enough to see Finland move into the next stage of Euro 2020 unless Denmark performs a miracle.
Tactically, Finland won't differ from what we saw against Denmark. Expect a low block in a 5-3-2 shape with intentions of playing on the counter-attack. Goals from Russia are hard to find as they too play a defensive style of play, meaning that Golovin will be expected to do most of the running into the left half-space and central areas, similarly to how we saw against Belgium.
Otherwise, Russia seldom attacks. Their time in possession can be suspect and at times detrimental, so direct passes into the channels behind the Finnish wingback Uronen, the most attacking of the Finnish wingbacks will likely be Russia’s only target.
Italy comfortably dismantled this Turkish side in the opening game of the tournament. Turkey’s pass success rate was woeful, coming in at 78%, a rather low number for a team that was expected to do so well and was the tournament dark horse for many. With that said, there will be tactical changes made.
Cengiz Ünder deserves to start in place of Yusuf Yazici. Ünder was Turkey’s most lively outlet coming off the bench at half-time. He will likely be tasked with running into space between Mepham and Rodon as Wales will also likely be making tactical changes. Hakan Çalhanoğlu was largely unused against Italy, so with the introduction of Ünder who will play a more central role with his runs moving into wide areas, rather than starting there, Çalhanoğlu will have a viable passing option rather than relying on just Yilmaz.
The Welsh tactics changed after half-time against Turkey and they can be expected to stick to those changes against Switzerland. In possession they will move to a back three consisting of Davies Rodon and Mepham while Roberts is given the freedom to attack the right wide area, free of his defensive duties.
The front three of James, Moore and Bale will likely remain unchanged. We will see more involvement from this front three now that Wales have the width provided by Roberts, presuming Wales stick to the progressive tactical changes made in their previous match.
Italy captured the hearts of neutrals everywhere as they opened Euro 2020 in style. Free flowing football and the Italian national team have never been synonymous. It was refreshing to see such an attacking Italian side.
Tactically, Italy will set up in a similar manner with one wingback going forward while the other tucks inside. Florenzi was the one who tucked inside during the game against Turkey and we predict that will happen again as the synergy between Spinazzola and Insigne was brilliant, albeit frustrating at times in the first half.
Locatlli deserves to start and will likely start against Switzerland even if Verratti is fit. Verratti is quite press resistant and will be used against more aggressive pressing teams, but against a team that will play on the counter-attack and defend deep, Locatelli should be preferred. The forward line should remain unchanged. You shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. With that said, Chiesa may be used off the bench in an attempt to help break down the Swiss low-block should it prove to be troublesome.
Switzerland were directionless against Wales until Zakaria came on the field. Embolo stole the headlines, albeit deservedly as his runs into the left half-space caused trouble for the Welsh defenders, but Zakaria made an immediate impact. Of the eight completed passes four of them were progressive passes made in the Welsh half. Zakaria deserves to start over Freuler due to his progressive style of play and willingness to play forward passes; which will be useful considering Switzerland will likely not hold on to much of the ball.FOLLOW US AT @PYTHAGINBOOTS
I’m a Canadian soccer/football coach and analyst with a bias towards Manchester City. Follow me on twitter for more football content @CamH___