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  1. Soccer

Euros - Football: England v Spain preview

After winning Group A in a procession, England face their toughest opponents yet at Euro 2022 as the Lionesses take on Spain in the quarter-final.

This will be the first of the four quarter-finals at Euro 2022, with Brighton's Amex Stadium playing host to the mouth-watering match-up with the kick-off at 20:00.

What

England v Spain, Euro 2022 Quarter-Final

Where

The Amex Stadium, Brighton

When

20:00, Wednesday 20th July

How to watch

BBC One

OddsEngland 17/20, Spain 3/1, Draw 5/2

Spain may fall at familiar hurdle

Spain came into this tournament well fancied but were dealt two hammer blows on the eve of the competition as Jennifer Hermoso and 2021 Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas were both ruled out with long-term cruciate ligament injuries.

Nevertheless, La Roja have plenty of quality in their squad, including many of the stars of the Barcelona side that were runners-up in this year's Champions League.

Jorge Vilda's team beat Finland 4-1 in their opener but lost 2-0 to Germany subsequently before a late winner against Denmark secured their progress to this stage.

However, Spain have been beaten in the quarter-finals of the last two Euros and look in danger of suffering a similar fate once more, with England having been in rampant form.

Lionesses' goal threat key

England could hardly have asked for a smoother run through Group A, beating Austria 1-0 in their opener before enjoying a record-breaking 8-0 win over the well-fancied Norwegians and a comfortable 5-0 success over Northern Ireland in their final group match.

To score 14 without reply in three matches is indicative of a team at the top of their game and there have been contributions from across the side.

The potent attacking front three of Beth Mead (13/2 to score first), Ellen White and Lauren Hemp netted eight times between them in the group stages, while Alessia Russo chipped in with three from the bench, and that attacking threat could prove too much for La Roja.

Pass masters face off

Interestingly, these two teams have registered the two highest possession totals across the tournament so far, 74 per cent for Spain and 67.3 for England.

With La Roja likely to dominate the ball, Sarina Weigman's side may have to stay compact and look to hit their opponents on the counter attack.

England have been rock solid defensively since Weigman took over, however, going unbeaten in her 17 games in charge, scoring 98 times and conceding just three goals in that run.

The Lionesses will have noticed that Spain have been vulnerable early in matches and from balls over the top.

Jorge Vilda's side conceded in the first three minutes against both Finland and Germany so a fast start for the hosts could catch their opponents cold.

They also appear vulnerable to the ball in behind the defence, allowing the Finns to score through that method and seeing captain Irene Paredes lucky not to be sent off against Germany after bringing down Alexandra Popp in similar circumstances.

With the considerable talents of England's attackers, the Spanish defence will have to be ultra-cautious to not fall into a similar trap once more.

Recent meetings indicate a close encounter

These two sides have met three times since England beat Spain 2-0 in the 2017 European Championships, with a friendly and a match in the SheBelieves and Arnold Clark Cups respectively.

The first of those meetings, a friendly in 2019, saw England run out 2-1 winners before the pair met again in March 2020 with Spain edging that contest 1-0.

The two sides met earlier this year, in February in the Arnold Clark Cup, and played out a 0-0 draw.

As such, it is not hard to make the case for this being a competitive and close match between two well matched teams.

That is further emphasised by the fact that the pair are separated by a single place in the FIFA rankings, with Spain in seventh place and England one spot below in eighth.

England's firepower may edge it

England will of course be wary of their opponents but will take confidence from the fact that they will be returning to the scene of their 8-0 win over Norway in the group stages, Brighton.

Given the considerable attacking firepower at England's disposal and the fact that Spain's defence did not cover itself in glory throughout the group stages, it may pay to side with the Lionesses to win and over 2.5 goals, a result which can be backed at 12/5.

Spain undoubtedly have strength in forward areas themselves and can play their part in what may become a high-scoring affair, with Wiegman's team fancied to secure a semi-final spot with a victory.

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