Three Reds remain as Euro 2020 progresses to the final eight teams left. While Jordan Henderson and Thiago are not locks to feature in their ties for England and Spain respectively, Xherdan Shaqiri will play a pivotal role for Switzerland, captaining the side against the Spaniards.
The Swiss are one of several surprise teams still in the running, battling back in the round of 16 from a 3-1 deficit to outlast the world champions, France in what was an instant classic. Arsenal and Swiss captain, Granit Xhaka will miss his country’s first ever Euros quarterfinal berth due to accumulated yellow cards, leaving Shaqiri to take on the armband in his place.
The Reds winger has made his mark in the tournament thus far, scoring two and assisting another in the group stage. He started in the victory over France as well but was withdrawn in the second half as his side chased the game.
“For me, it wasn’t easy against France,” he said ahead of Friday’s quarterfinal clash. “I had a few good spells and helped a lot defensively. This was decisive for the team. I give everything for the team.
“But it doesn’t mean I’ve had a bad game if I don’t score or assist. I’m proud of the team performance, but also proud of my own performance.”
Either way, Shaqiri has sought to rally the troops to take on the three-time Euro champions and continue what could be a fairy tale for Swiss supporters.
“Everyone has to give 10 per cent more, not just to replace Granit, we’ll need that to win the game.”