EURO 2016: Last 16 Predictions with England & Wales to TriumphPublished June 23, 2016
The group stages are finally over and we now know how the knockout stages of Euro 2016 will shape up.
Amazingly all three home nations – England , Wales and Northern Ireland – qualified from their groups, and they were joined by the Republic of Ireland after their sensational late victory over Italy on Wednesday
With shocks aplenty in the group stages, the draw for the knockout stages is somewhat lopsided, meaning that at least one team who has never claimed a major championship will play in this year’s final.
Here, at Free Bets, we make our last 16 predictions
Switzerland v Poland – Saturday 25 June
The Swiss have looked like a capable side, but it is Poland who are the ones to watch. Adam Nawałka’s side are going somewhat under the radar at this tournament, and the Poles kept three clean sheets during the group stages.
This will be a tight contest, but Poland are now the dark horses to win the tournament, and they should advance to the quarter-finals.
Wales v Northern Ireland – Saturday 25 June
Northern Ireland have done incredibly well to finish third in a daunting group, but they now facing the challenge of coming up against an impressive looking Wales side, with Gareth Bale at is very best.
Michael O’Neil should be incredibly proud of his side, and even though they have an on fire Will Grigg, Wales will provide too strong of a test.
Croatia v Portugal – Saturday 25 June
Two teams with contrasting form. Whilst Croatia topped a tough group consisting of Spain and the Czech Republic, Portugal failed to register a win in a group comprising of Austria and minnows Hungary and Iceland.
Whilst you can never write off a team with Cristiano Ronaldo in the side, judging by the previous round, there is only going to be one victor.
France v Republic of Ireland – Sunday 26 June
Martin O’Neil will be delighted with his side’s efforts against Italy, but he will need even more heroics in Lyon on Sunday night.
The hosts have looked efficient if not spectacular and although Ireland will go into this fixture with a nothing to lose mentality, expect their fighting spirit to be broken by a French side with too many world class players.
Germany v Slovakia – Sunday 26 June
Whilst Joachim Löw’s side have not hit fifth gear yet, there was a sense against Northern Ireland, that Germany are about to hit full throttle.
The introduction of Mario Gomez has given German midfielders more space and time to create opportunities, whilst Mario Gotze looks a different player, now that he isn’t being asked to play as a centre-forward.
This may sound harsh on Ján Kozák’s side, but a German thrashing awaits.
Hungary v Belgium – Sunday 26 June
Bernd Storck deserves huge credit for his side’s achievements in France so far. Hungary were 300/1 outsiders at the beginning of the tournament, and to top a group consisting of Belgium and Austria is a remarkable achievement.
Belgium look like they have finally clicked after their opening defeat to Italy, and with the squad they possess, Marc Wilmots side will most likely end the Hungarian dream.
England v Iceland
It looks like being a case of same story, different day, as far as England’s hopes at Euro 2016 are concerned.
Failure to top their relatively easy group, means that they are on the wrong side of the draw and will have to face the likes of Spain, Germany, and France enroute to any potential final.
Iceland have looked a capable side, and Lars Lagerback can be very proud of his side’s achievements.
It’s never comfortable with England, but they should progress here.
Italy v Spain – Monday 27 June
Easily the tie of the round. Spain’s last minute defeat to Croatia has left Vicente Del Bosque with a very tricky tie against an Italian side who looked very impressive during the group stages.
Spain of course have the squad and the capability to hurt any team, but you can never right off the Italians in tournament football.
This one may go the full 120 minutes, and could go either way, but Italy’s defence may prove key.
Prediction 2-1 (After extra time)