CHRIS SUTTON’S GUIDE TO THE EURO 2020 LAST 16: Why England and Germany could go to penalties, how a resurgent Denmark could prove too hot to handle for Wales – and how holders Portugal could tumble out
has seen its teams drop from 24 down to 16 after the group stage, but now the competition gets ready to kick into action with the knockout stages.
Already the last-16 has produced some mouthwatering ties including old rivals England andgoing head-to-head for the first time in the competition for 21 years.
With eight ties to be played across four days starting from Saturday, Sportsmail’s CHRIS SUTTON assesses each tie and who he thinks will progress to the quarter-finals.
England have reached the last-16 of Euro 2020 after topping their group with seven points
WALES v DENMARK
Saturday, 5pm, Amsterdam
Denmark’s tournament was rocked by what happened to Christian Eriksen in their first game. You could never blame their players for going on to lose to Finland, or for being beaten by a talented Belgium team. But they bounced back. They battered Russia 4-1 and they want to extend their stay at Euro 2020 for Eriksen. Sorry Wales, but I expect Denmark will edge this.
PREDICTION: 2-1 to Denmark
Wales will be hoping Gareth Bale can spur them on towards the quarter-finals in Amsterdam
ITALY v AUSTRIA
Saturday, 8pm, Wembley
Italy have been the most eye-catching team I’ve seen at this tournament. They’ve got three wins from three and haven’t conceded a goal under manager Roberto Mancini. The Italians have forgotten what it’s like to lose. They’re unbeaten in 30 games, equalling a record set in 1939, and should beat Austria. The Austrians aren’t pushovers but the Italians are bloody good.
PREDICTION: 2-0 to Italy
Roberto Mancini’s unbeatable Italy side have arguably been the best team at Euro 2020 so far
HOLLAND v CZECH REPUBLIC
Sunday, 5pm, Budapest
The Czechs are an awkward bunch. They’re functional, as we saw against Scotland in their opening group game, and in Patrik Schick, they’ve got one of the tournament’s surprise packages who could pop up with a goal at any time. Holland have looked bright in all areas and this will be their toughest test yet. I’ll say the Dutch win this one.
PREDICTION: 2-1 to Holland
Patrik Schick is the joint-second top goalscorer at Euro 2020 after three group stage goals
BELGIUM v PORTUGAL
Sunday, 8pm, Seville
Two Belgium players made my team of the group stages in Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, and I don’t expect their Euro 2020 to stop here. Portugal won’t take it lying down. They’ve got Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota, although Bruno Fernandes’s tournament is still waiting for take-off. I expect a bumper clash between two sets of superstars.
PREDICTION: 3-1 to Belgium
Bruno Fernandes’s Portugal enter the last-16 having finished third in their group
CROATIA v SPAIN
Monday, 5pm, Copenhagen
Spain are a high-intensity side who love to have the ball. They had 86 per cent possession against Sweden, 77 per cent against Poland and 66 per cent against Slovakia. They were super in Seville, ending the group stages with a 5-0 victory. Croatia were sleepwalking against England but had woken up by the time they met Scotland. A Spain win for me.
PREDICTION: 2-0 to Spain
After a slow start with defeat by England, Luka Modric and Croatia are now finding form
FRANCE v SWITZERLAND
Monday, 8pm, Bucharest
The tournament favourites won the so-called group of death, and they’ll fancy their chances against the Swiss. Switzerland squeezed into the knockout stages after a win, draw and defeat. France won the 2018 World Cup under Didier Deschamps, who also won the World Cup in 1998 and Euros in 2000 as a player. There isn’t a manager better equipped to win Euro 2020.
PREDICTION: 2-0 to France
France boss Didier Deschamps will be hoping to guide his world champions past Switzerland
ENGLAND v GERMANY
Tuesday, 5pm, Wembley
In many ways, I suspect the German style of play might suit England. When sides are expansive against us, we can counter-attack and that should suit our forward players. But I’ve just got the feeling in the pit of my stomach that the unpredictable Germans might step up and perform on the big stage at Wembley. The scoreline could be anything! I’m going for a 2-2 draw, followed by the lottery of a penalty shootout.
PREDICTION: 2-2 draw, and Germany to win on penalties
Germany scraped into the last-16 by securing a late 2-2 draw with Hungary in Group F
SWEDEN v UKRAINE
Tuesday, 8pm, Hampden Park
Who needs Zlatan Ibrahimovic, eh? Sweden won a group including Spain, Poland and Slovakia, and not many expected that heading into Euro 2020. They aren’t a free-scoring side, it has to be said. Their ties tend to be tight. Ukraine gave Holland a good game, they beat North Macedonia and then they were very disappointing against Austria. Sweden should edge this one.
PREDICTION: 2-1 to Sweden
Sweden took many by surprise after topping a Euro 2020 group featuring Spain
HOW GROUP STAGES FINISHED AND THE ROUTE TO THE FINAL
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