The long-awaited conclusion of the ongoing Euro 2020 competition is almost upon us, as we reach the end of the group stages. Now the sixteen teams that qualify for the latter part of the tournament have been identified and the fixtures have been put up, based on a knockout stage pattern that was drawn up beforehand. Without further ado, here are the Round of 16 ties for the Euro 2020, in order of the dates of the fixtures.
#1 Wales vs Denmark: 26 June
Kicking the knockouts off would be Wales and Denmark, two of the nations who are considered neither favourites nor underdogs. Denmark’s story has been closely followed by millions ever since midfielder Christian Eriksen was hospitalized, and players such as Simon Kjaer, Kasper Schmeichel, Pierre-Emile Hobjberg and Yussuf Poulsen would be aiming to give the fans what they want. However, in their way is a strong Wales side, who have a rediscovered Gareth Bale, Dan James, Kieffer Moore, Joe Morell and Aaron Ramsey trying their best to stay in the tournament.
#2 Italy vs Austria: 26 June
This match sees the Azzurri face Austria in their quest for their second Euro, after winning it back in 1980. With their ranks filled with the likes of Ciro Immobile, Manuel Locatelli, Marco Verratti and Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy would be considered favourties to go through. However, don’t count out Austria yet as they have the ability to pull off one of the upsets of the tournament just yet. Led by David Alaba, the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Stefan Lainer, Michael Gregoritsch and Martin Hinteregger will give it their all in trying to go through.
#3 Netherlands vs Czech Republic: 27 June
After scoring one of the goals of the tournament, the Czech side have gone and done what they would’ve expected to have done; qualify third behind England and Croatia. With Patrik Schick leading the line and Vladmir Coufal, Tomas Soucek, Matej Vydra and Tomas Vaclik as the support cast, Czech could take the first points off Netherlands this tournament, but with the Oranje in sublime touch and boasting of Memphis Depay, Gini Wijnaldum, Frenkie De Jong, Denzel Dumfries and Donyell Malen, it is going to be a tough ask.
#4 Belgium vs Portugal: 27 June
One of the tastiest ties that the Round of 16 could possibly have given us pits current Euro champions, Portugal, against an inspired Belgium. While Belgium breezed past the group stage scoring nine points out of a possible nine, Portugal survived a scare against France on the last day of qualification to scrape through in third place. Don’t let that fool you, however, because Portugal laden with players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias. Belgium too boast of players such as Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden and Thorgan Hazard and Axel Witsel, among others.
#5 Croatia vs Spain: 28 June
Croatia endured a mixed group stage as they finished with exactly one win, one draw and one loss. With evergreen Luka Modric scoring a brilliant goal against Scotland, they would be hoping for more magic from their captain against a strong Spain side. With Marcelo Brozovic, Ante Rebic, Mateo Kovacic and Dejan Lovren, Croatia would hope for a repeat of the World Cup 2018 magic, maybe even going all the way this time. While Spain had a frustrating start to the group stage, with two draws in two games, they turned on the style when it mattered in a 5-0 thrashing of Slovakia. With a young, talented side containing Pedri, Ferran Torrs, Aymeric Laporte, Gerard Moreno and Alvaro Morata, Spain would like to carry their momentum forward into the knockouts.
#6 France vs Switzerland: 28 June
Fans of the tournament heavyweights and world champions France would be excused for already thinking ahead to their next round as they are expected to get past the Swiss challenge with ease. Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante… the list of superstars in this team goes on and on. The Swiss side’s game plan would be to defend in deep blocks and catch Les Blues on the counter, and Xherdan Shaqiri is more than capable of producing moments of magic. Assisted by Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Yann Sommer, Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic, the Swiss side might just be dreaming of a famous victory. But, all said and done, France are one of the favourites to win the Euro 2020.
#7 England vs Germany: 29 June
In another mouth-watering clash of the heavyweights, group winners England take on Germany in this clash. While it took till the final whistle and an 84′ minute equalizer for the German side to be assured of going through, they will be as imperious as ever in the knockouts. Toni Kroos, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Neuer will need to put in another of their classic performances against an English side who have scored just twice so far. With Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, John Stones and Harry Maguire, England would need to live up to their champagne football promise if they are to make it futher into the tournament. This match knocks out one of the Euro 2020 favourites.
#8 Sweden vs Ukraine: 29 June
In a battle of the underdogs, Group E toppers Sweden face Group C third placed Ukraine. With players such as Victor Lindelof and Emil Forsberg stepping up, and star attacked Alexander Isak being a nuisance for opposition defenders, it is always difficult to break down this side: but another team in yellow, Ukraine, hope to find the key to their defence. Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovsky, Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk will have to be at their best to get past the RO16 hurdle into the quarterfinals.
Here is what the draw looks like.
The Euro 2020 quarterfinals will be played from July second, and the semifinals are scheduled on the 6th and 7th of July, 2021
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