16 teams have now been confirmed for the knockout stage of the UEFA Euro 2020 with plenty of mouthwatering ties.
Group F, originally tagged as the ‘group of death’ lived up to the hype. France, Portugal and Germany qualified from the group. However, every point was keenly fought for.
Sweden was one of the surprise teams of the group stages having topped a group that included Spain and Poland. They finished with 7 points with their only draw coming against La Roja.
Like in recent years, Poland had a disappointing tournament, finishing bottom of the table and exiting with just one point.
Round of 16 Preview
The UEFA Euro 2020 knockout action begins with Wales and Denmark fighting for a place in the last eight.
The Dragons finished second in group A and will look to replicate their 2016 feat where they went all the way to the semi-finals. Denmark only managed to progress after losing its first two matches. However, they will see this tie as one within their reach. They will also enjoy the support of neutrals after the unfortunate incident of matchday 1.
Italy takes on Austria immediately after. The Azzurri have shown intent from the opening night. They took out all comers, scoring seven goals without conceding. On the other hand, Austria has only made it to the knockouts for the first time ever. With very little to lose, they will push their luck as far as possible.
The Netherlands will faceoff against the Czech Republic. The Dutch were matchless in the group stage. Frank de Boer will be hoping on the likes of Memphis Depay and Gini Wijnaldum to continue firing. The Czech Republic qualified second behind England. This is a tough test for Jaroslav Silhavy’s men but one that could provide the necessary confidence to go as far as possible.
Belgium and Portugal will meet for the first time at the Euro. This is one of the high-profile matches of this stage. The Red Devils ended the group stage with a 100% record. Roberto Martinez will be counting on his midfield maestro, Kevin de Bruyne to influence the game. The Selecao finished as the third-best team in group F. Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to continue his fine form and inspire his side to the quarterfinals.
Next Week’s Fixtures
Croatia and Spain will trade tackles on Monday. Both teams have not been spectacular but ended with brilliant wins in their final group stage matches. Zlatko Dalic’s side will most likely sit behind, soak up the pressure and hit on the break. La Roja will try to pick out the spaces in the opponent’s defence. They’ll also be relying on the calming midfield presence of Sergio Busquets.
France will square up against Switzerland. Les Bleues have been unconvincing in this tournament. However, they are the favourites to progress. Kylian Mbappe will hope to break his drought in this match. Switzerland finished as the third-best team but only on goal difference. Xherdan Shaqiri will look to provide the difference as he did in the group stage.
England takes on Germany. The Three Lions have found scoring very difficult. They managed just two goals in the group stages. They are yet to concede as well. Gareth Southgate’s men would need to find their creativity to progress past this German side. Die Maanschaft have had a topsy-turvy tournament. At times, they have been unplayable, other times, they have been lacklustre. They would need to replicate their performance against Portugal to stand any chance of eliminating England.
Sweden will meet Ukraine. The smart money will be on the Blue and Yellow to progress. They are yet to lose any game. The defence has been impenetrable and Alexander Isak has been clinical in offence. Andriy Shevchenko has structured a very organised team with clear direction and strategy. They are very aggressive without the ball and very direct in possession. This tie promises to be tantalising.
Wales vs Denmark (Under 3.5 goals)
Italy vs Austria (1)
Netherlands vs Czech Republic (1)
Belgium vs Portugal (Goal/Goal)
Croatia vs Spain (Halftime draw)
France vs Switzerland (1)
England vs Germany (over 1.5 goals)
Sweden vs Ukraine (over 1.5 goals)