The European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup continue this weekend, with the groups taking shape as teams close in on the midway stage of their fixtures.
UEFA.com picks out the pivotal matches and points of interest on the second day of Matchday 5 action, including Switzerland’s chance to claim another scalp in the form of European champions Italy.
Sunday 5 September
Group B: Kosovo vs Greece, Spain vs Georgia
Group C: Bulgaria vs Lithuania (18:00), Switzerland vs Italy
Group E: Belarus vs Wales (15:00), Belgium vs Czech Republic
Group I: Albania vs Hungary (18:00), England vs Andorra (18:00), San Marino vs Poland
Group J: Iceland vs North Macedonia (18:00), Germany vs Armenia, Romania vs Liechtenstein
Kick-offs 20:45 CET unless stated
The big match
Switzerland vs Italy
The Nati return to the international stage for the first time since their outstanding efforts at UEFA EURO 2020. Vladimir Petković’s men took France and then Spain to penalties, eventually bowing out to La Roja in the quarter-finals, to show they are not afraid to go toe to toe with Europe’s heavyweights.
Murat Yakin has taken the reins since, with Switzerland already boasting two wins from two in Group C, but his opener at the helm could not be tougher, welcoming an Azzurri side bidding to set a new European record of 36 matches unbeaten. The newly-installed continental champions will likely have to play a lot better than they did against Bulgaria on Thursday.
Worth looking out for
• Spain will be looking to swiftly bounce back from their first FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat since 1993 as they welcome Georgia to Badajoz. Anything less than victory and Luis Enrique’s side would be in danger of losing ground in Group B to the pacesetters and Thursday’s vanquishers, Sweden.
• Sweden, who are not in action on Sunday, are among just four teams who still have a 100% qualifying record after winning three from three. The quartet is completed by Denmark (5/5), who won on Saturday, plus Switzerland (2/2) and an England (4/4) side expected to give opportunities to several fringe players against Andorra.