Nico Williams is showcasing his huge potential at EURO 2024

Nico Williams is showcasing his huge potential at EURO 2024

EURO 2024 is already proving to be the tournament where Nico Williams’ abilities are witnessed on the biggest stage and there is so much more to come.


By Kaustubh Pandey


Giovanni di Lorenzo generally doesn’t have rough days on the football pitch. A symbol of consistency for club and country for a while now, the Napoli captain witnessed a horror show against Spain last week. He was constantly turned inside out by a 21-year-old Nico Williams, who captured the eyes of many and put on a performance that people will remember for quite a while.

By the end of the game, there was a realisation in the minds of many Azzurri fans that Di Lorenzo shouldn’t play for Italy in the tournament again. Whether the Partenopei man starts for the side against Croatia, or not, remains to be seen, but it was a day when Williams tore apart arguably one of the best full-backs in the world with his pace and trickery.

The 21-year-old attempted as many as ten dribbles – four more than Lamine Yamal, who was second best at six in this regard and he too must be lauded for his performance as a 16-year-old against grown men.

There was also a good amount of final product in what the Athletic Bilbao star was doing, creating four chances and that was the highest by a single player in the game.

In a way, it is fairly rare for Spain to rely on wide forwards during international tournaments. La Roja have constantly been associated with having players that offer numerical superiority in the middle of the park by drifting inside off the ball. Williams – like Yamal, are offering something fresh and when it comes to the Bilbao man, it isn’t rare to see him do what he did last week against the reigning European champions.

Even against Croatia in Spain’s first game, Williams was constantly looking to take defenders on, as he attempted four dribbles and was only one behind Dani Olmo.

He could create only one chance and that does show that he is a volume dribbler and creates more whenever he dribbles more. The more the system allows Williams to get on the ball and do the work, the more effective he becomes as an outlet.

At Athletic Bilbao, Williams is one of the stars of the side and it is only natural that a pragmatist like coach Ernesto Valverde would tailor the system around a prized asset. While Valverde’s Bilbao side are flexible when it comes to their shape, they are generally built on a solid defensive foundation and transition quickly from defence to attack.

As a result of their approach, Bilbao had the second-best goals conceded per game metric in the 2023/24 campaign and they kept 18 cleansheets, second only to eventual champions Real Madrid.

For a player who likes to attack space, take defenders and leave them ragged, a counter-attack approach is quite perfect. To gives Williams a lot of room to play in, use and increase the amount of dribbles he executes and then create more.

The Spaniard was joint second best in the 2023/24 season for successful dribbles per 90 minutes and this freedom to be himself made sure that he was the second best assister in the competition with 11 assists.

His creation abilities have risen to the fore to a point where had the third-best Expected Assists per 90 minutes tally in the season, once again suggesting how much Valverde’s approach seems to suit the 21-year-old winger.

Valverde, who is a famed figure in Athletic Bilbao history, returned to the club in 2022 and he does deserve a fair amount of credit for how his approach has helped Williams. After all, the youngster’s numbers have picked up since then and he is slowly reaching new levels in his evolution as a player.

Valverde is fairly in touch with the values of the San Mames-based club and it is not just evidenced by Williams’ emergence. Gorka Guruzeta has come leaps and bounds and Dani Vivian has impressed to a point where he too is part of Spain’s side for EURO 2024. Experienced players like Oscar de Marcos and Yuri Berchiche also continue to perform fairly well.

It is Williams who has, perhaps, been the best indicator of how well Valverde has done at the club. The 2023/24 campaign was the very best of Williams’ career as he racked up 24 goal contributions in domestic contributions.

It is also important to note that even though Williams is a volume dribbler, he isn’t a volume shooter. He isn’t someone who takes shots away at whim, as compared to many other inside forwards of his ilk. He prefers to create for others and be precise with his creation instead of getting his shots away constantly, which comes with the added risk of breaking down play and his team losing the ball.

His name is already attracting the attention of so many across Europe and EURO 2024 will only add to his lure. The 2023/24 campaign was only his second full season at club level and while there is a long way to go, there is a foundation for a truly reliable footballer in Nico Williams.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss
Euro 2024: FotMob Team of the Round, Matchday Two

Euro 2024: FotMob Team of the Round, Matchday Two

So there we have it. Matchday two of Euro 2024 is now in the history books. Germany, Spain and Portugal guaranteed their presence in the knockout round of the tournament, they’re the only teams with a 100% record and all three had players appear in the FotMob Team of the Matchday. But who joined them and how did they make the cut? 


By Sam McGuire


Goalkeeper: Giorgi Mamardashvili

The shot-stopper put on a clinic in Georgia’s 1-1 draw with Czechia. The 23-year-old made a remarkable 11 saves and faced shots with an Expected Goals on Target total of four. His performance earned him a rating of 8.9 and his exploits earned Georgia their first point of the competition, keeping their hopes of progressing alive. 

Right-Back: Joshua Kimmich

The versatile Bayern Munich man caught the eye for the host nation in their 2-0 win over Hungary. Kimmich created the most chances (four) of any player involved in the match while also finishing the game with a pass success rate of 97%. The 29-year-old also cleared an effort off the line, had two shots, and won two of his three ground duels in what was an all action display from full-back.

Centre-Back: Tomáš Holeš

Holeš caught the eye for the Czechs in the 1-1 draw with Georgia. The 31-year-old, playing as the right-sided centre-back in a back three, created one chance and completed 93% of his passes against a highly energetic and aggressive Georgian attack. The Slavia Prague defender also won 50% of his tackles, 75% of his ground duels and 100% of his aerial duels.

Centre-Back: Antonio Rüdiger 

Another Germany defender who made the FotMob XI. Rüdiger played his part in the hosts keeping a clean sheet, winning two of his three aerial duels, making five clearances and recovering the ball on four occasions. The Real Madrid defender was accurate with 70% of his long passes and finished the game with a 95% pass success rate. 

Left-Back: Marc Cucurella 

Not only is Cucurella justifying his place in this Spain squad, he’s showing that he is more than deserving of a place in Luis de la Fuente’s starting XI. The Chelsea defender impressed in the win over Italy, carving out three chances and two big chances while also completing 98% of his passes. The 25-year-old won 80% of his ground duels and two of his three aerial duels to cap off a commanding defensive showing.

Midfield: İlkay Gündoğan 

The 33-year-old scored and assisted in Germany’s 2-0 win over Hungary. Gündoğan setup Jamal Muisala for the opener before killing the game off not long after the hour mark with his only shot of the game. The former Manchester City man carved out two chances and completed 85% of his attempted passes as the hosts booked their place in the knockout round.

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne 

Belgium needed a big performance from their talisman and he delivered. The Manchester City midfielder was named as the FotMob Player of the Match with an 8.7 rating having scored in the 2-0 win over Romania.

De Bruyne had a total of five shots, created three chances and completed three of his four attempted dribbles. The 32-year-old also bossed things without the ball, winning 12/17 duels.

Midfield: Fabián Ruiz 

Ruiz is having a storming Euro 2024. He built on his goal against Croatia last weekend with a dominant performance against Italy. The 28-year-old found a teammate with 95% of his passes, carved out three chances and one big chance. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder had three shots, completed 100% of his dribbles, recovered the ball 14 times and won six of his nine duels.

Attack: Cristiano Ronaldo 

The 39-year-old is yet to get off the mark at Euro 2024 but he played his part in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Türkiye, assisting Bruno Fernandes for the third goal. Ronaldo created three chances and had a total of four shots, once again proving himself to be a valuable asset for Roberto Martínez. The legendary forward also completed two of his three dribbles while winning five of his seven duels. 

Attack: Marko Arnautović

Arnautović rolled back the years for Austria during their emphatic 3-1 win over Poland. The 35-year-old scored a penalty to put the game to bed but his overall performance for Ralf Rangnick’s side earned him a FotMob rating of 8.0. The Inter man was fouled on three occasions, he won four of his five ground duels and two of his four aerial duels. It was a dominant and aggressive showing from the centre forward. And it put Austria right back in contention for a place in the next round. 

Attack: Andrej Kramarić

Kramarić played his part in Croatia’s 2-2 draw with Albania, scoring the equaliser in a display that earned him a FotMob rating of 8.3. The Hoffenheim forward created three chances on the day and found a teammate with 85% of his attempted passes. He also completed four of his five dribbles and involved himself in 10 duels.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss
Preview: Croatia vs. Italy

Preview: Croatia vs. Italy

Group B at Euro 2024 was universally billed as the group of death, and it is set to claim at least one big name team on the final day. World Cup semi-finalists Croatia must win to book a knockout berth but defending champions Italy need at least a point to get the job done as well.


By Neel Shelat


Can Croatia’s Veterans Conjure a Last Hurrah?

Seasoned campaigners have been the key to Croatia’s impressive recent record which includes consecutive World Cup semi-final appearances. Even after Ivan Rakitić’s retirement, the midfield trio of Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović and Mateo Kovačić kept the good times rolling for a few more years. However, they finally seem to be past their prime now.

They found themselves dominated by a younger Spanish midfield trio and did not even have a good time against the energetic Albanians, with Brozović getting hooked at half-time. There are more question marks in attack in terms of goal-scoring, as now-35-year-old star forward Ivan Perišić is no longer as good as he once was. Still, Zlatko Dalić brought him into the starting XI against Albania owing to a lack of quality alternatives.

Croatia have been a shadow of their former selves both in and out of possession at the Euros so far, so they will need to come up with a very special performance in a must-win clash against the defending champions if they are to avoid a group stage exit.

Italy’s Quest for Control

It is not all smooth sailing for Italy either, as their tally of three points does not guarantee anything going into the final day. As long as they do not finish bottom of the group, though, they should be in a good position to advance. They should be thankful that their goal difference is not too bad after the game against Spain as they were thoroughly outclassed – to the point that just a one-goal defeat was a kind result for them.

In fact, Italy’s opening victory over Albania was not the most convincing either as they conceded the earliest-ever goal in Euros history and failed to kill the game off after taking the lead, only winning by a one-goal margin in the end. After their thoroughly dominant displays en route to the title three years ago, the Azzurri have not shown a similar level of control both with and without the ball in both games so far.

A defeat here could well bring their title defence to a premature end, so Italy will also need to improve on all fronts if they are to safely advance to the knockouts.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview
Preview: Albania vs. Spain

Preview: Albania vs. Spain

Albania will look to seal their first-ever Euro knockout qualification tonight against a Spain team that needed just two games to seal the top spot in Group B. That might be good news for the Eagles as long as they come up against a rotated XI in a must-win game.


By Neel Shelat


Albania Seeking Sustained Defensive Solidity

Albania impressively topped their qualifying group with four clean sheets and just four goals conceded in eight matches, so they might have hoped to have a shot at the Euro knockouts until being drawn in the group of death. Still, they have given a very good account of themselves in their first two games to stay in contention on the final day.

One of the most impressive aspects of Sylvinho’s side in qualifying was the compactness of their mid block out of possession. They did maintain it at the start of both their matches in Germany but somewhat fell apart after taking the lead by sinking too deep and inviting sustained pressure – particularly in the second half of the 2-2 draw against Croatia.

That is precisely what they must avoid against a Spain side that is sure to dominate possession for long periods. A clean sheet alone will probably not be enough for Albania to progress as two points will likely not place them among the best third-placed teams, but it should offer a good platform to build on.

A Free Hit for Spain

Spain are in the luxurious position of not having anything on the line at all from their last group game. Their dominant wins over Croatia and Italy mean first place in the group is already theirs, so Luis de la Fuente can freely rotate his side if he so desires.

Whether or not he should do so, though, is a difficult call. On one hand, he might want to rest his first-choice XI that took to the field half a week ago to face Italy. However, he will also want to keep them match-sharp ahead of their Round of 16 fixture, which they already know will be the late kick-off on Sunday.

Furthermore, the 63-year-old tactician might not want to create any selection dilemmas for the knockouts. He has a set formula having fielded almost the same XI in both games so far (save for Aymeric Laporte replacing Nacho at centre-back) and dominated on all fronts. The defensive unit kept two clean sheets, the midfield comfortably controlled proceedings against top-class competitors, and Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams ran rings around full-backs with Álvaro Morata poised to pounce in the box.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview
FotMob Daily Briefing: Four things to look out for on Day 11 at the Euros

FotMob Daily Briefing: Four things to look out for on Day 11 at the Euros

The games are still coming thick and fast at Euro 2024. Here are four things you should look out as the highly competitive Group B comes to a close on day 11 of the tournament with games between Albania and Spain, and Croatia and Italy.


By Ian King


A regular, reliable goalscorer would be the icing on Spain’s cake 

The most striking irony of Spain’s win against Italy was that, for all the excellent football they played, they were still dependent on an own goal to win. In their first match against Croatia, a three-goal rush in eighteen minutes was enough to get the game sewn up by half-time, but outside of that brief flowering, they haven’t scored a goal themselves yet in this tournament.

So long as they’re winning this isn’t a major issue, and going into their final group match against Albania having beaten Italy coupled with knowing that qualification has already been achieved, head coach Luis de la Fuente may well consider this an opportunity to try out something different in attack. Because a tournament-leading goalscorer would be the icing on the cake for a Spain team that looks excellent in just about every other respect.

Italy need a first if they’re to beat Croatia

Perhaps the best that can be said for Italy’s night against Spain was that at least it wasn’t a lot worse. Had it not been for an inspired performance by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, it almost certainly would have been. 

Italy have had some patchy years, winning the Euros between failing to qualify for two successive World Cups. And getting this match out of the way doesn’t make their passage much easier. Next up are Croatia, who have looked jaded so far but who can still hurt them.

The historical record isn’t great. Since Croatia gained independence in 1991 the two sides have met eight times, with five draws, three Croatia wins and Italy having won… none. A point will be enough for Italy, but defeat would see them drop to at least third place and facing a substantially more difficult second round draw. 

Croatia’s old stagers need to pull one last iron from the fire

From the way in which their players slumped to the turf after conceding a last-gasp equaliser to Albania it could have looked like Croatia were out of the competition. But that isn’t the case. A win against Italy would still see them through to the next stage, and they have a good record against them (see above). 

One of the most intriguing questions of this last round of fixtures is whether this band of brothers, some of whom are now accelerating towards forty years of age, can pull something out of the fire one last time. Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić, Mateo Kovačić, and Domagoj Vida have ridden this rodeo before. For all the talk that this is a tournament too far for this squad, would you completely rule them out? 

Albania have to face the reality of being in a Group of Death

For all the celebrations brought about by their last-minute equaliser against Croatia, the scale of the task ahead of Albania remains stark. A win against Spain will see them through to the next round of the competition, but getting through to the next round requires them beating Spain. 

This is the reality of the Group of Death for the outsider. Albania have been decent in this tournament. They scored the Euros’ fastest ever goal against Italy and were only narrowly beaten. Rescuing a point against Croatia may have come late, but few would argue that it was undeserved. But while expanding the Euros has been to the benefit of the continent’s middle-ranking teams, the scale of what they have to achieve once through in order to progress once there remains as huge as ever. 


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss
Preview: USA vs. Bolivia

Preview: USA vs. Bolivia

The host nation for the 2024 Copa América starts its campaign Sunday at AT&T Stadium, fighting traditional straggler Bolivia in a Group C contest.


By Jon Arnold


The United States is participating in the South American continental championship as an invited team for the fifth time, and will hope to once again make the semi-final as it has twice before, including in 2016 when it last was played on U.S. soil. While a teenage Christian Pulisic was on that squad, the AC Milan attacker is one of few holdovers from that generation of American soccer.

He’s joined at this tournament by a midfield full of talent, whether it be Juventus’ Weston McKennie, Bournemouth’s Tyler Adams, Pulisic’s Milan teammate Yunus Musah and Real Betis’ Johnny, a relatively new face with the U.S. who is coming off a tremendous six months in Spain.

There may be more concerns about the current generation at the back, where typically secure goalkeeper Matt Turner enters the summer after playing little with Nottingham Forest. Sergiño Dest is missing the Copa América with an injury, though Joe Scally’s performance against Vinicíus Júnior in a friendly against Brazil has U.S. fans hopeful they have the personnel needed to lock down attackers who excel out wide.

Bolivia historically has struggled to win when they’re not the home side, so a date with the hosts will be an intimidating start to the tournament they last won in 1963. A sterling run in the Copa Libertadores by Bolívar has lifted some hopes in Bolivia that this group could be the one to break what is nearly a decade-long winless run in official games played away from the altitude of Bolivia.

They’ll need to find the right attacking mix, with Henry Vaca missing the tournament as he recovers from injury and legendary goalscorer Marcelo Martins Moreno having announced his international retirement after 108 caps and 31 goals for La Verde, both all-time highs.

Matching the highs of the 2015 Copa América in Chile, when Bolivia beat Ecuador and advanced from the group stage would be success at the tournament for Antonio Carlos Zago’s men. Any result against the host nation would go down as an historic result.

The other teams in the group, Panama and Uruguay, meet later Sunday in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. 


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Copa America live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview
FotMob Daily Briefing: Four things to look out for on Day 10 at the Euros

FotMob Daily Briefing: Four things to look out for on Day 10 at the Euros

Euro 2024 is underway and the games are coming thick and fast. Here are four things you should look out for across day 10 of the competition as the third matchday of the group stages gets underway. Scotland face Hungary, and Switzerland play hosts Germany as Group A comes to a conclusion.


By Ian King


Twelfth Time Lucky for Scotland? 

That Scotland have qualified for the finals of a major tournament eleven times before without getting through the group stage of the competition is a number so great that it can only realistically be viewed as a statistical anomaly.

The ways in which they have failed to do so have been many and varied, from goal difference (1974, 1978 & 1982), to just not quite being good enough (1986, 1990, 1992 & 1996), to being just not good enough (1998, 2021). But which way will the pendulum swing this time?

Hungary are beatable. They’ve lost both of their games so far, and by reasonable margins. They’ve shown enough shortcomings to give Scotland hope. Scotland worked hard against Switzerland and deserved their draw, and they know that a win almost certainly will be enough. There’ll be quite a party if they can manage it.

Is Dominik Szoboszlai becoming a cautionary tale?

It’s been less than a year since Liverpool paid £60m to trigger Dominik Szoboszai’s RB Leipzig transfer clause and take him to the Premier League. His season at Anfield wasn’t an especially happy one, with injuries and less frequent appearances as the season wore on. 

But the pressure on Merseyside is nothing like what he faces with his national team, because despite being just 23 years old, Szoboszlai seems to carry the expectation of an entire nation upon his shoulders. Much as he has previously claimed to be “motivated” by criticism, this doesn’t seem to be manifesting itself on the pitch. 

Football has been here countless times before, layering expectations on a young player whose talent is expected to dig his team out of trouble. It’s fair to say that Szoboszlai hasn’t performed yet. But that won’t change unless the weight of the world can be lifted from his shoulders every time he takes to the pitch. 

The Switzerland match does still matter for Germany 

There could be a party atmosphere in Frankfurt tonight, with Germany already through to the next round. But this doesn’t mean their match against Switzerland doesn’t matter. A Switzerland win would put Germany second, meaning that they’d play the runners-up from Group B (likely Spain or Italy) in the next round, whereas the group winners play the runners-up from Group C, England’s group. It’s unlikely that Germany would want to play Spain or Italy this early in the competition; to avoid them they need at least a draw. 

Xherdan Shaqiri can spoil Germany’s party

If anybody can, Xherdan can. For the last six major tournaments in a row, Xherdan Shaqiri has scored for Switzerland, part of an international career that stretches back 14 years and 124 appearances. Against Scotland there he was again, pinging a loose pass first time into the top corner from twenty yards with the inside of his left foot. 

His goal was the jewel in an otherwise tepid Swiss performance, and now it’s on to face the hosts. In an era of increasingly standardised footballers, Shaqiri remains the barrel-chested exception that proves the rule and few could doubt the delight that he would take in making Germany’s progress through this tournament considerably less comfortable. 


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss
Preview: Scotland vs. Hungary

Preview: Scotland vs. Hungary

The final round of games in Group A awaits, with the two most vulnerable sides set to go head-to-head. Scotland will face Hungary at the Stuttgart Arena, with the group’s third and fourth-placed sides clinging on to their qualification hopes.


By Matthew Smith


It’s been a disappointing start to the tournament for both Hungary and Scotland, but they will be forced to give it everything on Sunday as one of them will be heading home by the end of the game. It was a night to forget in Munich for the Tartan Army against Germany in the opening fixture of Euro 2024, shipping five goals and shattering the confidence of the supporters before half-time.

Steve Clarke’s side showed signs of improvement in their second match after their heavy defeat to Germany in the opener, but an injury to Kieran Tierney has dented their chances of getting a result.

The Arsenal defender plays a crucial role in Scotland’s five-at-the-back system, slotting in on the left-hand side of the central defenders. Tierney dovetails well with Andy Robertson on the left, with the latter playing in a wing-back role. A tweak of his setup would be in the pipeline from Clarke, especially with Ryan Porteous suspended. 

Scott McTominay continues to show his attacking threat from midfield after his deflected strike against Switzerland made it eight goals in 12 Scotland appearances for the Manchester United midfielder this season. 

Against Germany, the Hungarians weren’t afraid to try and stamp their authority on the host nation, creating four big chances throughout, but their finishing let them down on the night. Dominik Szoboszlai is the one to watch, achieving an average FotMob match rating of 6.98 so far, including a 7.6 against Switzerland in the opening match.

Throughout the tournament, Hungary have missed six big chances while only finding the back of the net one on occasion, so there’s an argument to suggest they’ve had a slice of misfortune. Getting the ball into advanced areas hasn’t been a problem for Marco Rossi’s men, but putting it into the back of the net has been a struggle.

Hungary are unable to finish in the top two as they trail four points behind Switzerland, so nothing more than a victory will do for The Magyars. It could make for an entertaining clash on Sunday night as the two sides desperately compete for a pivotal three points.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview
Preview: Switzerland vs. Germany

Preview: Switzerland vs. Germany

Germany face Switzerland in what is likely to be the battle for first and second place in group A. Julian Nagelsmann’s side are guaranteed to advance into the next round after picking up six points since the tournament got under way, but a flawless group stage campaign will be the plan in front of their home crowd.


By Matthew Smith


The mixture of experience and youth in the middle of the park has created a successful cocktail in the tournament so far for the Germans. Toni Kroos and İlkay Gündoğan provide a base in the midfield, with Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala given the freedom to make things happen in attack.

The Germans have shown immense control since the start of the tournament and have produced plenty of goals to back up their possession-based style.  One of the favourites heading into Euro 2024, Nagelsmann’s men have produced the goods, scoring an average of 3.5 goals per game so far. The toughest game of their group-stage campaign awaits against the Swiss, but they’ll have to beat stronger sides if they want to lift the trophy in July.

With 71.2 per cent possession in their first two games of the tournament, Nagelsmann has been able to implement a controlling style and Germany are now reaping the rewards at Euro 2024.

Although the Swiss stand a good chance of qualifying for the next round of the competition, finishing in first place will be in their sights at the Frankfurt Arena on Sunday. With four points in the bag already, Murat Yakin’s side will be hoping to end the group-stage fixtures on a high.

Granit Xhaka, who has averaged a 7.58 match rating so far, will be crucial for Switzerland if they want to finish on top. His experience and comfortability on the ball have made him a standout star in their first two fixtures, and he’ll have a point to prove in the country where he now plies his trade domestically. 

We’re likely to see Switzerland allow the Germans to dominate the ball, hitting them on the break after sitting deep. The Swiss only had 50 per cent of the possession against Hungary, but still managed to create 2.33 expected goals (xG) with 35 touches inside the opposition box. 

A draw between the two sides would guarantee they both cement their place in the next round of the competition. 


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Euro 2024 live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview
Preview: Mexico vs. Jamaica

Preview: Mexico vs. Jamaica

One year after their Gold Cup semi-final contest, Mexico and Jamaica meet again, this time opening their Copa América campaigns with a Group B match in Houston’s NRG Stadium.


By Jon Arnold


Mexico took that match 3-0 with Henry Martín scoring an early goal, Luis Chávez adding a second at the half hour mark and Roberto Alvarado finishing things off with a tally in stoppage time. But only two of the players are part of Mexico’s Copa América roster, with América forward Martín left off of Jaime Lozano’s roster as the Mexico manager looks to bring younger players into the fold.

Martín is hardly the only casualty of the push for fresh blood. Mexico’s goalkeeping situation heading into Saturday’s match is uncertain because veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was left out – as was winger Hirving Lozano. But Ochoa’s replacement Luis Malagon suffered an injury, meaning Lozano now will pick between late addition Carlos Acevedo or two goalkeepers who went into the summer without any international minutes.

Jamaica, too, will be without its stalwart shot-stopper, though not because they don’t wish Andre Blake were there. Blake suffered a knee injury and underwent meniscus surgery in late May. While he’s named in Heimir Hallgrímsson’s 26-man squad, he’s unlikely to be able to play.

Another player present on the squad list but not in person is Aston Villa star Leon Bailey, who Hallgrímsson named to the roster but who continues to decline to play for the Reggae Boyz amidst frustration with the coaching staff and the Jamaica Football Federation.

Still, Jamaica will not be without an attacking threat. West Ham United forward Michail Antonio will lead the line and, after missing out on June’s World Cup qualification matches with an injury, winger Demarai Gray is fit and ready for Copa América.

El Tri’s attacking situation will be closely watched during the tournament, with no Lozano but with several players coming in off red-hot seasons in Liga MX. Uriel Antuna, who led the league in scoring with Cruz Azul, and Julián Quiñoes are options out wide, as is energetic Pumas playmaker Cesar Huerta, while expectations are heavy on Santi Giménez, who has starred with Feyenoord but is yet to find a huge return in international play.

In a Group B that looks like the most open in the competition, points will be at a premium. Both teams will hope to secure all three in the opener before games with Ecuador and Venezuela.


(Cover image from IMAGO)


You can follow every game from Copa America live with FotMob — featuring deep stats coverage, xG, and player ratings. Download the free app here.

Posted by Bill Biss in Preview