Prior to Spain’s last group game against Slovakia and following two tepid displays, Luis Enrique promised that his side were a bottle of cava that was just waiting to be uncorked.
Two games and ten goals later (more than Spain scored in the entirety of their winning 2010 World Cup campaign) it’s safe to say the cava is out the bottle now.
After beating Croatia 5-3 after extra-time of the last 16 (arguably the game of the tournament), Spain take on France’s surprise vanquishers Switzerland this Friday evening.
Here’s how Luis Enrique’s side could line up in St. Petersburg for a place in the Euro 2020 semi finals.
Unai Simon (GK) – It’s kind of amazing that Simon’s early and spectacular blunder against Croatia might not be in the top three most interesting things about that game. The Bilbao stopper atoned for his error with a couple of saves as important as any goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) – The Champions League winning captain has been excellent since being brought into the side and will surely continue at right back after his goal and all-round display against Croatia.
Eric Garcia (CB) – The new Barcelona starlet started over Pau Torres in the last 16 but was taken off with a knock. He should start if fit.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – Joining Garcia will be his former Manchester City teammate Laporte, who has barely put a foot wrong since getting out-jumped by Robert Lewandowski during the draw with Poland.
Jordi Alba (LB) – No longer captain with Busquets back in the side, Alba was dropped for Gaya last time out but his experience could be vital against the Swiss.
Sergi Busquets (CM) – The returning captain has added leadership and organisation to Spain’s lineup. He remains the only survivor from the 2010 World Cup squad.
Pedri (CM) – The 18-year-old has been one of the best young players at the tournament so far – despite an unfortunate own goal to his name.
Koke (CM) – The Atletico Madrid captain claimed “it’s good to get hearts fluttering”, after the nail-destroying Croatia win. He has started every Spain game at Euro 2020 thus far, limiting chances for Thiago Alcantara and Marcos Llorente.
Ferran Torres (FW) – The Manchester City winger has burst into life in Spain’s last two outings, with two fine goals and an assist to his name. He’ll likely get the start on the right over Gerard Moreno or Dani Olmo.
Pablo Sarabia (FW) – Equally exceptional during Spain’s resurgence is Paris Saint-Germain’s Sarabia, who now seems undroppable despite being touted as a squad filler pre-tournament.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – Morata sent a message to his critics by making the decisive blow to Croatia with a wonderful finish in extra-time of the last 16. The fan meme ‘I don’t score either’, may no longer be relevant.