The Euro 2016 quarter final fixtures have been decided after the group stage games ended yesterday.
It really ended well as Portugal vs Hungary served up a game-of-the-tournament so far in an enthralling six goals thriller with the game ending 3-3.Minnows Iceland also topped a tough group after an impressive 2-1 win against Austria.Ireland put up an impressive performance to surprisingly defeat former World and European Champions Italy to ensure passive onto the next round of the tournament where they will face host nation, France.Here are the quarter finals fixtures in full;
France vs Ireland : This will definitely seem like the repeat of the World Cup playoff repeat in 2010 where a Thierry Henry offside goal sent France through to the tournament.France have performed well and would be relying on the brilliance of superstars Pogba, Payet and Griezmann while Ireland surprisingly defeated Antonio Conte’s Italy in a must win match to qualify for the quarter finals.It will definately be a tight game but its hard to see France not going through here but expect Ireland to put up a good fight.
Switzerland vs Poland : Switzerland scaled through as runners up to the host nation in group A and have put up a good show in the tournament so far, defeating Albania in their first game and drawing Romania nad host nations, France to go through.Their strength is in midfield with Valon Behrami and Arsenal’s new signing Granit Xhaka making it hard for opponents to penetrate.Poland have also gradually got into the tournament.Got impressive wins against Northern Ireland and Ukraine and played goalless against World Champions, Germany.Both sides are hard to beat so it will definitely be a very close game probably going to penalties.
Croatia vs Portugal : Expect a very tough game here with both teams having a go at eachother.Croatia will be buoyed by their 2-1 win over Spain in their last group game while Cristiano finally getting his scoring boots will be a hell of a positive news for the Portugese fans.Expect a very tactical game here with Modric pulling the strings for Croatia while Portugal will look to get Cristiano Ronaldo much more involved.I feel this game will be decided by the bench but Croatia’s impressive group stage performances most recently against Spain will stand them a bigger opportunity of going through.
Wales vs Northern Ireland : Two British light weights will square up against eachother.The Northern Irelands exceeded expectations by qualifying in the first place and have now gone through to the quarters.It’s just simple, this game is expected to be boring as they both base their strength on hard defending and counter attacking and Wales looks like the best counter attacking side among the two.The Gareth Bale magic should help Wales go through.
Hungary vs Belgium : Hungary were impressive in the group stages and exceeded expectations.The key point of their tournament was their impressive 2-0 win against Austria in their first game and they’ve not looked back. They also had a good game against Iceland and were massive against Portugal, scoring thrice in that game.Belgium on the other hand have woken up from their slumbia with impressive wins against Ireland and Sweden after loosing their first game 2-0 to Portugal.Expect Belgium to go through howbeit in a very tough game.
Germany vs Slovakia : It’s simple, the Germans have not really showed up performance wise but they’ve grounded out victories when it matters.Slovakia on the other hand were extremely dogged against England in their last game and will hope for a repeat of that performance against Germany but the Germans will be happy to get Slovakia in the draw and will definetely look up to Ozil to breakdown a real dogged defensive Slovakian side.
England vs Iceland : This is a game where England will mightily struggle because Iceland are a very well marshalled defensive side and rely on the counter, a problem England has not resolved.Another issue is Roy Hodgson still doesn’t know his first XI.Iceland will come into this game buoyed after topping a tough group and i expect them to stick to their task.It will be a surprise if they go through though, but it is still a massive achievement if they bow out as they are a country of just 300,000+ people and have conducted themselves fabulously at the tournament.
Italy vs Spain : This is definetely the game of the round and one Spain would’ve hoped to avoid.It’s just simple, it will be down to the bench and proper discipline on the pitch.This is a game where a single error will be punished. Expect Spain to do all the playing and struggle to break down a dogged Italian side while Italy will gladly sit back and hit on the counter.A classic game never to be missed.