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Euro 2020: Paul Merson's predictions for the Round of 16 fixtures

Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo have impressed in front of goal at Euro 2020
Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo have impressed in front of goal at Euro 2020
Paul Merson
EXPERT COLUMNIST

The group stages of UEFA Euro 2020 didn't produce too many surprises, as 16 nations booked their place in the knockout stages earlier this week. Group F lived up to its billing as the Group of Death and came to a frantic finish, as France finished first, with Germany and Portugal occupying second and third spot, respectively.

Hungary finished fourth despite holding France and Germany to draws in successive games. Their 3-0 defeat against Portugal in their Euro 2020 opener proved to be detrimental to their hopes of making it through to the Round of 16.

Spain and Croatia recorded convincing wins on Matchday 3 to confirm qualification after failing to impress in their first two games, as they prepare to face each other at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen next week. Aside from the usual suspects, Sweden and Denmark also made it through to the knockouts, with the Danes recording a famous 4-1 victory against Russia to end their Euro 2020 group stage campaign on a high.

Some of the ties may look straightforward on paper, but the Euro 2020 knockout stages could be quite hard to predict as the competition enters its business end.

After analyzing all the teams involved, I've made my predictions, but anything can happen in the world of football, so we have to take these with a pinch of salt.

The knockout stages of Euro 2020 is the perfect time for players to step up - this is it. These are just my opinions and how I see the games panning out, but if I were to just get one prediction right, I'm hoping it's the England one!


#8 Wales vs Denmark

Italy v Wales - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A
Italy v Wales - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A

Starting off with the first game of the Euro 2020 knockout stages, it's Wales v Denmark at the Amsterdam Arena. I look at both squads and I have to go for Wales.

They have a world-class player in Gareth Bale and the likes of Daniel James and Aaron Ramsey have performed well, but they need the rest of their players to step up in an important game. With all due respect to them, they've got a few players who aren't close to Bale's level and they will need to deliver the goods in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 to ensure Wales go far.

Aside from Bale, Kasper Schmeichel is arguably the only other world-class player on the pitch. I fancy Wales to record a 2-1 victory and make it through to the quarterfinals of Euro 2020.

Prediction: Wales 2-1 Denmark


#7 Italy vs Austria

Italy v Switzerland - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A
Italy v Switzerland - UEFA Euro 2020: Group A

I like Italy and in my opinion, they've been the team of Euro 2020 so far. My only worry is how they'll react after conceding a goal, they've recorded 10 successive clean sheets in all competitions.

Roberto Mancini's side have enough to get the job done, but Austria are tricky customers. They scored four goals in the Euro 2020 group stages and recorded a much-needed victory against Ukraine when it mattered the most.

I fancy Italy to win the tie, but if I'm an Italian fan, I'd like to see my team concede first and stage a fightback victory. If they manage to do that, they'd have ticked all the boxes and could really be a force to be reckoned with in the latter stages of Euro 2020.

Prediction: Italy 2-0 Austria


#6 Netherlands vs Czech Republic

North Macedonia v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C
North Macedonia v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020: Group C

I was impressed with Czech Republic's first-half performance against England. They created a lot of chances and could've scored early, but it didn't happen for them in front of goal. If they create as many opportunities as they did against England, they could cause the Netherlands a handful of problems.

Holland, on the other hand, have had a go in each of their games and I've been very impressed by them. However, in their Euro 2020 opener against Ukraine, they conceded twice in the second half and looked vulnerable at the back.

This will be a good game and could be much tighter than a lot of people might seem to think. Holland are a nice team to watch, I still fancy them to get the win.

Prediction: Netherlands 2-1 Czech Republic


Also Read: Jim Beglin column - 5 young players who could become household names after Euro 2020

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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