The quarter-final stage of Euro 2020 kicks off today with two intriguing ties: Switzerland vs Spain before Belgium take on the Italians.
On another day, however, we could have been witnessing a repeat of the last World Cup final: France vs Croatia.
Indeed, it was Spain and Switzerland who were part of one of the most incredible days of football on Monday.
Monday 28 June will go down as one of the most dramatic days in the sport at international level for a long time. The two matches played had everything: own goals, penalty misses, twists and turns, plenty of goals and even a penalty shoot-out.
Both Switzerland and Spain, the victors of that dramatic day of football, go into this evening’s encounter knowing that they will have to be at their very best in order to progress.
Are we starting to see Spain’s true potential?
Denmark recently became the first team in history to score four goals at consecutive Euro matches; up step Spain, who then became the first side to score five goals in back-to-back games.
This is a Spain side who, during the first two matches, mustered up one goal and drew both games, albeit with a lot of shots on target and chances created.
Spain then won 5-0 against Slovakia in their final game of the group stage, with goals from Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres and a couple of own goals from the Slovaks. This victory and performance started to prove some of the doubters wrong.
Croatia, in the first round of the knockout stages, was always going to be a different prospect, and so it proved to be.
After opening the scoring, Pedri’s back pass which goalkeeper Unai Simón failed to control as it went into the empty net gave the Croatians an early lead, before Pablo Sarabia hit an equaliser. Two second half goals within the first 30 minutes gave Spain a 3-1 lead.
Luis Enrique then made several substitutions to kill the game and that seemed that.
But in football, the game is never over.
Two late Croatian goals in the 85th minute and stoppage time forced the match to extra-time.
This collapse could easily have been the end of Spain’s tournament, but two quick goals in the first half of extra time by Álvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal gave La Roja another advantage.
Croatia never recovered.
Despite the drama of this match, Spain thus go into tonight’s match against the Swiss in fine goalscoring form, having mustered 10 goals in two matches.
Switzerland: a difficult challenge
Just several hours after Spain’s victory in Copenhagen, in Bucharest we saw another match full of drama.
Switzerland, who had scraped through in third place in their group, were to play the pre-tournament favourites and reigning World Cup Champions France.
Switzerland found themselves 1-0 up thanks to former Real Sociedad forward Haris Seferovic. The scoreline was to stay this way until half-time.
At the beginning of the second period, Torino full-back Ricardo Rodríguez missed a penalty. Within four minutes of this, France and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema had scored two goals.
In the last ten minutes, a la Croatia, Switzerland found themselves 3-1 down.
Another goal from Seferovic in the 82nd and a 90th minute equaliser from Gavranovic also forced extra-time.
There was nothing to settle the sides after the 30 minutes played and with the first nine penalties scored, it was up to PSG’s Kylian Mbappé to force sudden death.
He missed and Switzerland had won their first knockout match at an international tournament since 1938.
Switzerland vs Spain
Although Luis Enrique may be glad that his side have avoided France, he knows that Switzerland will be a difficult challenge.
The Swiss famously beat Spain in the opening game of their winning 2010 World Cup campaign.
In 2020, the two sides played each other twice in the Nations League, with Spain winning one of the matches 2-1 and the other being a draw.
This will be no easy match, especially when you consider Spain’s draws in their opening matches against similar opposition.
Switzerland meanwhile will be missing Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka who is suspended for this encounter.
This encounter has all the markings of being a classic, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.
Will Spain play like the first two matches or the last two?
Can Switzerland cause another upset?
Will there be as many goals as the other day?
We can only hope.