Bold Predictions for the European Championships Round of 16
After two weeks of pulsating football action, 16 teams have advanced to the knockout phase of the European Championships in France. In 32 games played thus far, there has been 69 goals, which on an average, is 1.92 goals per game. The Round of 16 draws have been made and there are some tasty fixtures.
Without further ado, here are Gooner Daily’s predictions for the knockout phase fixtures.
Switzerland vs Poland
The Poles had a strong campaign in the group phases, going unbeaten and without conceding a single goal in the tournament. They had challenges scoring, and their talisman, Robert Lewandowski, hasn’t turned up in this competition. Switzerland, on the other hand, have had a hot and cold campaign, winning their opening game against Albania before sharing the spoils with Romania and France.
Prediction: Poland win.
Croatia vs Portugal
Croatia shocked the football world with their win over the defending champions but in Portugal they face a different beast with the world’s best player, Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal’s defense has been shambolic in the competition but Croatia will be saddened with the fact that their star midfielder, Luka Modric, might not be available for the reminder of the competition. In Modric’s absence, Ivan Perisic has stepped up his game to come up with the goods for his nation.
Prediction: Draw but Portugal will edge Croatia out on penalties.
Wales vs Northern Ireland
As it stands, Wales is the best British team in the European Championships and their key players, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, have been instrumental to their success so far. Northern Ireland didn’t really impress in this competition and all they have to show was a narrow win against a terrible Ukrainian side that became minnows in the competition.
Prediction: Wales win
Hungary vs Belgium
Hungary has been the surprise package of the competition, winning a group that contained Portugal, Iceland and Austria. Their reward for topping their group was a clash with a Belgium team that has finally come of age in the competition after their hiccup against Italy.
Prediction: Belgium win.
Germany vs Slovakia
Slovakia will have a daunting challenge against the world champions, Germany. With Marek Hamsik on their ranks, they would be hoping he brings A-game in what will prove to be a difficult encounter. I expect the Germans to overwhelm their Slovak counterparts and progress to the next round.
Prediction: Germany win.
Italy vs Spain
This will be the toughest encounter in the competition as we gear ourselves for a repeat of the 2012 finals. The Italians will do their best to put up a great fight but my smart money is on Spain to edge them out.
Prediction: Spain win.
France vs Republic of Ireland
The hosts have been impressive in the competition thus far and they will have more than enough in the tank to see out the threat of the Irish.
Prediction: France win.
England vs Iceland
The Three Lions have been very disappointing in the competition but they managed to ease their way into the knockout round following two draws against Russia and Slovakia. Then there was late drama in the ‘Battle of Britain’ against Wales. Iceland attributed their qualification to a great campaign in the group phases. However, I expect England to edge past the ‘sons’.
Prediction: England win.
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