The Group stages are finally done and dusted and the focus now shifts to the knockout stages of the competition. So, who gets who in the last 16, when and where do they play and what can you expect from these matches?
As the teams take a few days off to give the players a breather, we’re here to make sure the Euro fanfare doesn’t stop with our preview and predictions for every game of the last 16 of Euro 2020.
Wales vs. Denmark – Amsterdam, 26th June 2021, 9:30 pm
The 2020 Euro has been an emotional rollercoaster for Denmark. Their campaign began with Christian Eriksen collapsing unconscious in the middle of the match against Finland which they understandably lost. Against Belgium, rallied on by the home fans, the Danes hit the No.1 team in the world like a whirlwind and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead only for Kevin De Bruyne to come off the bench and break Danish hearts in the second half; assisting one and scoring the winner in the 2-1 win for the Red Devils. At that point, Denmark’s tourney looked all but done. However, there was to be another twist in the script when they outclassed Russia 4-1 in their final group game to progress into the knockout stages.
For Wales, Austria winning against Ukraine in the final group game meant they qualified as runners up of Group A even after losing 1-0 to Italy on the same evening. The last two meetings between the two sides have both been won by the Danes. Denmark also has the better head to head record with 6 wins and 4 losses in 10 encounters between the two teams.
UT prediction: 1-1 after extra time; Denmark to win on tiebreakers.
Italy vs. Austria – London, 27th June 2021, 12:30 am
The Azzurri are the most inform team in international football at the moment with 11 consecutive wins and are also unbeaten in their last 30. They breezed past Group A with an unblemished 100% record and look like they cannot lose a game at the moment.
Erstwhile, Austria has shown shades of promise but hasn’t been exciting or consistent enough for the fans to put their money on them. While they can surely hold their own against big teams, Italy may be too strong for the Austrians. Italy are unbeaten in their last 13 encounters against Austria with their last loss to the Austrians coming in a friendly in 10thDecember 1960.
UT prediction: A straightforward 2-0 win for the Azzurri
Netherlands vs. Czech Republic – Budapest, 27th June 2021, 9:30 pm
The Oranjes have played some scintillating football so far and are by miles the highest scoring team in the group stages. The Flying Dutchmen are a sight to see bombing forward but Frank De Boer will be concerned with his team’s defending. The Dutch conceded two quick goals against Ukraine and were worryingly lacklustre against North Macedonia who couldn’t take their chances.
They face a Czech Republic side who have largely been the surprise package in the Euros so far. The Czechs are a very well balanced team and have the firepower up front to worry any team. They have also been a thorn in the Dutch side who have won just three of their last 11 encounters between the two sides; losing 5 and drawing a further 3. Given the style of play and the attacking impetus of both teams, this one should be a cracker of a game.
UT Prediction: We can see the Netherlands just about edging this one, 3-2.
Belgium vs. Portugal – Seville, 28th June, 12:30 am
This mouth-watering encounter between the No.1 team in the world and the defending European Champions is surely the pick of the bunch of the last 16. Belgium are heavy favourites to claim their first-ever major international title this summer but have their work cut out against Portugal.
Portugal have been largely disappointing in the defence of their Euro title but have progressed again by virtue of being one of the best third-placed teams in the group stages. For Portugal, however, it is out of the frying pan and into the fire as they meet the Red Devils who have been tipped to be the team to dethrone them. Get your popcorns ready because you wouldn’t want to miss a minute of this one.
UT Prediction: Kevin De Bruyne and co. too strong for the Champions, 3-1 Belgium.
Croatia vs. Spain – Copenhagen, 28th June, 9:30 pm
The runners up of the 2018 World Cup were extremely poor in their first two group games where they managed to pick up just one point. The Croats, however, found their mojo again in the game against Scotland outclassing the Tartan Army 3-1 at their home turf to progress through the group stages.
They come up against a Spanish side that has had a similar campaign. The La Rojas only qualified for the last 16 after blowing away Slovakia in their last group game having started the campaign with tepid stalemates against Sweden and Poland. The meeting between the two sides who have both found new leashes of life promises to be a blockbuster. The Spaniards lead the H2H 4-3 and the Croats will be eager to peg one back against them.
UT Prediction: Too hard to call this one but we’ll go for a win for Croatia. 2-1
France vs. Switzerland – Bucharest, 29th June, 12:30 am
Paul Pogba referred to the French squad as a “PlayStation team” before the Euros but also rang out the warning that the team needed to perform just as well on the pitch. Given the standards by which the world champions have played, it feels a lot like your worst gamer friend is sitting in front of the PS5. Les Blues will need to go up a gear in the knockout stages if they are to dream of being World as well as European Champions.
The Swiss side they will face have given a good account of themselves in the tournament so far. Against the World Champions, however, Switzerland will need to play much better to have a chance at making it to the last 8 at the expense of Les Blues. For France, this will be the perfect time to put someone who knows their way around a PlayStation in front of the PS5!
UT Prediction: France to blow the Swiss away 3-0
England vs. Germany – London, 29th June, 9:30 pm
A lot has been made and said of Gareth Southgate’s team selections in the group stages but results have gone England’s way thus far. The Three Lions have been great defensively with three clean sheets out of the first three games. However, the concern lies on the other end of the pitch where for all the attacking wealth England possesses, they have scored only twice.
The real test of England’s credentials will come in the form of the Germans in the last 16. The Die Mannschaft themselves have been extremely bipolar in the competition and the result of the game will be dependent on which side of the Germans show up against England. Head to head, the two teams are tied on 13 wins each and the fixture presents the opportunity for one team to get their noses forward in the H2H and also progress to the Quarter finals.
UT Prediction: A tight 1-0 win for England
Sweden vs. Ukraine – Glasgow, 30th June, 12:30 am
Perhaps the least hyped match of the last 16, Sweden and Ukraine face each other in what will be a finely poised tie between two teams who have quietly gone about their business. Sweden topped a strong Group E and have gone under the radar for much of the tournament.
On the other hand, Ukraine have been bang average and qualified for the last 16 with the worst points among the four best third-placed teams. That said, Ukraine will be no pushovers and have the better head to head record between the two sides. While this tie will turn a few heads, the winning team will come out to the limelight as the team that will face either Germany or England in the last 8.
UT Prediction: A close 2-1 win for Sweden.