Magical Euro 2020 is becoming a classic: Last 16 review, quarter-finals predictions

Euro 2020 is shaping up to be a great tournament so far and after the dust has settled on a bonkers last 16 round of matches, eight teams have been left to continue their quest for the European champions title.

And what a round of matches it has been. Spain vs Croatia and France vs Switzerland were the classic matches of the round.

Last 16 results:

Denmark 4-0 Wales
Spain 5-3 Croatia (after extra time)
Austria 1-2 Italy (after extra time)
England 2-0 Germany
Switzerland 3-3 France (after extra time) Switzerland won 5-4 on penalties
Ukraine 2-1 Sweden (after extra time)
Czech republic 2-0 Netherlands
Belgium 1-0 Portugal

I get the feeling that a new dawn in international football is rising. Defensive football is no longer enough, as France and Portugal, winners of the last world cup and European championship, have shown. France was comfortably leading 3-1 against Switzerland in the 76th minute of their game, but they still lost on penalties.

This was the most surprising result of the competition so far. Heads must, and will roll. I would be very surprised if French national team coach Didier Deschamps kept his job for much longer.

Joachim Loew, German national team coach, has already left, as has Dutch team coach Frank de Boer, who resigned after a shambolic 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic.

Portugal, who lost to a decent Belgian side, will also wonder if they could have done better with the attacking talent at their disposal. One nil loss happens in football, but they didn’t play to their potential.

Read also: After amazing Euro 2020 group duels, the round of 16 ties is set

Spain and Croatia played out a brilliant 5-3 result, in the best game of the tournament so far. The Croats refused to give up, even when 3-1 down, and scored two goals past the 80th minute mark to push the game to overtime, where they ran out of gas and Spain clinched the win due to a stronger bench and deeper pool of talent.

The remaining eight teams are Denmark, Spain, Italy, England, Switzerland, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Belgium. The smaller teams have shown that they cannot be written off, as Switzerland had been written off by the commentator against France.

Here are how the teams will match up over the weekend as the games are played:

GameVenue and time (East African time)
Switzerland vs. SpainFriday 2nd July, 7pm at St Petersburg stadium, Russia
Belgium vs. ItalyFriday 2nd July , 10 pm at football arena, Munich, Germany
Czech republic vs. DenmarkSaturday 3rd July, 7pm at Baku Olympic stadium, Azerbaijan
Ukraine vs. EnglandSaturday 3rd July, 10pm at Olympico in Rome, Italy

The standout tie is between Italy and Belgium, possibly the two most talented sides left in the competition. Belgium will be hoping that Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are fit to start, while Italy has a selection headache. Does Coach Roberto Mancini play Locatelli, who has been amazing this tournament, or stick with Marco Veratti? Is it Chiesa on the wing, or Domenico Berardi? I think Italy will win this one, due to fitter players and deeper bench, but this could easily go to extra time and penalties.

Spain is getting into form at just the right moment, and will be careful not to underestimate the Swiss like the French did. If Spain plays to their potential, they should win this game comfortably.

Czech Republic vs Denmark is a great game between two evenly balanced sides. Most neutrals will want Denmark to advance, and I think they will. This might be a dull game between two defensively solid sides, and might also go to 120 minutes.

England did brilliantly to beat Germany, exorcising many demons of past failures in the process. The Englishmen have not conceded goal all through this tournament, and look very solid at the back. It will be interesting to see how they do against weaker opponents.

Ukraine is a good side to watch, and Yarmolenko has been outstanding this tournament, same as Zincheko. Anything other than an England win will be a huge upset.

I am still leading in the maudhui league, and this time I have extended my lead in the league to 23 points, after Raheem Sterling and Karim Benzema delivered for me. Check it out on this link, and let’s keep battling as the end of the tournament nears!

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