The quarter finals of the Euro 2016 is set as the round of sixteen definitely provided lots of excitement. Italy put up an awesome performance to knock out defending champions Spain, while three of the British teams fell off at the round of sixteen stage, leaving Wales to be the remaining British team. England were victims of the most shocking defeat after losing to minnows Iceland. Without further ado, here are the quarter finals game preview;
Portugal vs Poland – Thursday 8pm
This game is destined to be a very tight game because both sides are quite disciplined. Polland played a very good game in the first half of their round of sixteen game against Switzerland but were totally outplayed in the second half and had to rely on penalties at the end to scale through. They are tough and should be doing better if Milik buried the numerous clear cut chances that come his way. They’ve still not found a way to wake Lewandowski up though and they would be hoping he is in form to help in their push to get to the semifinals. Portugal on the other hand have just not been convincing since the beginning of the tournament but they’ve always found a way to scale through. Their team is built on a strong midfield and Renato Sanches’s impressive performance when he came on as a substitute against Croatia would be a welcome development for the team. They would also be hoping superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is in inspiring form in order to scale through a dogged Poland side. Expect a very tight game that could go down to the wire. Hard to predict who will win but Portugal just always find a way to grind out but this is a game any of them could take.
Wales vs Belgium – Friday 8pm
This game is straight forward if it’s to be played on paper but unfortunately I don’t think it will be straight forward on the pitch. Just when you thought winning against Slovakia was probably a fluke, Wales have come up with impressive performances against Russia and most recently defeated British rivals, Northern Ireland. The fact is, these players play as a team and their 5-3-2 formation deployed by their manager just works perfectly for the team. Belgium on the other hand have bounced back from a calamitous opening game defeat to Italy and have put up impressive performances since then, easily dispatching Hungary 4-0 in their round of sixteen clash. It is clear, this is the golden age of Belgian football and although winning Wales would be tough, they should get through this. Another advantage this Belgian side is they have a lot of options if a game needs to be changed. Wales will defend and would be hard to break down but eventually, I feel the depth of the Belgian side should be enough to see them through.
Germany vs Italy – Saturday 8pm
This should probably feel like a punishment for the Italians. After scaling a tough Spanish side, they get to face the World Champions!!. Conte wouldn’t care though as it should be ‘back to business’ to find the tactics to defeat the German side. Germany on the other hand have not really faced stiff oppositions so far in this tournament. The only tough game they’ve probably played is Poland whom they drew 0-0 with, they easily dispatched a Slovakian side 3-0 in their round of sixteen game and face their first real test against an Italian side that have conquered the big teams that have come their way, (2-0 against Belgium and 2-0 against Spain). The Italians would be ready for this game and with Antonio Conte as coach, they definitely wouldn’t get carried away while the Germans will know this will be a different ball game from anyone they’ve so far played at this tournament. A tough game to watch out for.
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France vs Iceland – Sunday 8pm
Don’t get it wrong, Iceland have deserved their unimaginable run so far at this tournament and their impressive victory against England showed it. I watched their first game against Portugal and I just knew they had strong defensive discipline which could help them in the tournament but I never imagined they will go this far. France on the other hand are an extremely good team and have found a way to grind out result due to the depth in their squad. Pogba and Griezmann are finally coming through and Payet have been impressive since the beginning of the tournament. Expect Iceland to show another dogged defensive performance again. Trust me, it will be extremely tough for France but eventually that bit of quality in the France squad should be good enough to scale through in an extremely tight quarter final clash.