Euro 2016: Predictions for all round-of-16 matches
The Group Stage of Euro 2016 is done and dusted and the 16 qualifiers to the knockout rounds of the tournament are now known. The group stage will be remembered for exciting games, some great goals, and underdogs shining through. There was something for everyone.
Wales’ Gareth Bale and Dimitri Payet of France, were the two stand out players during the phase, and their teams will want them to carry their fine form into the Round-of-16. On the flip side, there were some star players like Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski, who were expected to light up the tournament with their goals, but have so far failed to live up to those expectations.
In many ways, the Group Stage of Euro 2016, was the story of the underdogs. Minnows Northern Ireland qualifying for the Round-of-16 was perhaps the biggest surprise of all. There was also plenty to celebrate for fans of Hungary and Iceland who overcame the odds to book their place in the business end of the tournament.
The knockout phase will begin on June 25, and the 16 teams that feature in it, will look to win and take another step to getting their hands on the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
Here is an early look at all the eight Round of 16 games and which teams are likely to advance to the Quarter Finals.
Switzerland vs Poland
Switzerland were a little disappointing in the group stages, they barely scraped past Albania and were unconvincing in their draw against Romania. Their draw against hosts and much-fancied France may seem like a good result, but it must be kept in mind that France, who had already qualified when they faced the Swiss, had chosen to rest many of their key players in that game.
Switzerland have looked very unconvincing in attack and its hard to see them breaking down a well organized Poland defence which kept a clean sheet against world champions Germany, and didn’t concede a single goal in any of their three group games.
The Swiss were also lucky that their somewhat fragile defense never got fully tested in the group stages.
Poland qualified from a much tougher group, with the same number of points as World Cup holders Germany. This is a testament to their teamwork and willingness to put in a tough shift. Their star striker Robert Lewandowski has had a very quiet tournament by his standards, but facing off against the somewhat shaky defense of Switzerland will be a great opportunity for him to fix that.
Prediction – It will be a game where both teams, especially Switzerland, are likely to adopt a defensive approach and look to play on the counter. Switzerland don’t really have the attack to trouble the well-organised Polish defence, and thus the only team that could realistically win it in 90 mins is Poland.
Poland to win, by a single goal. Most likely scoreline 1-0 for Poland. However don’t be surprised if this game goes into extra time after a 0-0 in the 90 mins.