Despite winning their opening two games against hosts Denmark and Iceland, Switzerland still need one more point to secure the place in the semis. Belarus, on the other hand, need to better Denmark’s result against Iceland, which basically means that they will have to win this game in order to go through.
No longer dark horses
Before the tournament started Switzerland U21 side were seen as dark horses in Denmark, as nobody really know how far they can go at the Under-21 Euro. However, the Euro 2012 qualifier between England and Switzerland hinted that the Under-21 team could be in for a very successful campaign. Under-21 players Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi and Innocent Emeghara all impressed at Wembley, only to continue their fine form at the U21 Euro. As a result, Switzerland easily won their two opening games against Denmark and Iceland, so we can definitely expect another convincing performance from the Swiss. Even though they only need one point to go through, I have no doubts that Pierluigi Tami’s side will be going for a win against Belarus.
Coach Pierluigi Tami has the courtesy of choosing from a fully fit squad, meaning that he is likely to field the same side that started the Iceland game.
Tough task for Belarus
Belarus arrived to this tournament riddled with selection problems, so they were not given big chances to win their opening game against Iceland. Nevertheless, Georgi Kondratyev’s side managed to spring a surprise and beat Iceland, thus making a big step towards the place in the semis. They started the second group game against hosts Denmark brightly, scoring the opening goal midway through the first half, but Denmark’s superior quality eventually shone and helped the hosts win the game. Belarus now have to beat high-flying Switzerland in order to go through, which is clearly easier said than done. The players are low on confidence after missing a great chance to secure the place in the semis, while the numerous selection problems are certainly not helping.
First team regulars Nikita Bukatkin and Sergei Politevich are suspended, whereas Pavel Nekhaychik and Mikhail Gordeychuk face a race against time to be fit for this game.
Switzerland have shown a lot of promise in the first two games and seeing that coach Pierluigi Tami will again have full squad to choose from, the Swiss are definitely the favourites here. Belarus have been far from impressive so far and with several important players missing from this match, their chances of getting something here are very slim.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.80 (4/5)
Bookmaker: Stan James