Saturday 25 June 2016

Euro Cup 2016: Knock out stage begins in France today

The knock-out stage of Euro Cup 2016 begins from today in France. In today's fixtures, Switzerland will take on Poland, Wales will play against Northern Ireland, and Croatia will face Portugal. No side won all three group games, while many of the less-fancied sides troubled their much fancied opponent. 
1. Switzerland vs Poland 

Switzerland emerged from a 0-0 draw against hosts France in their final round-robin game as runners-up in Group A and will now face Robert Lewandowski's Poland. Poland had to overcome a stubborn Northern Irish defence to secure their first three points of the tournament before a goalless draw against world champions Germany all but secured qualification to the round of 16. Whoever comes out on top will face the winner of Croatia and Portugal in Marseille on June 30. 
2. Croatia vs Portugal 
Croatia take on 2004 finalists Portugal in the last 16 encounter. The Croatians produced one of the most impressive results of the tournament thus far in coming from behind and beating Spain 2-1 to snatch top spot in Group D. Portugal surprisingly finished the group stage without a single win but still managed to reach the knockouts as one of the best third-placed teams. 
3. Wales vs Northern Ireland 
Wales may have lost to England but they beat their rivals to top spot in Group B and now march on in Paris to face Northern Ireland. The winner set to face either Hungary or Belgium in Lille on July 1. 
4. Hungary vs Belgium 
Hungary will face star-studded Belgium in the last 16, whose false start against Italy, a 2-0 defeat, left them bottom of their group after the opening game. The talented Belgians will be favourites to progress and set up a quarter-final tie with the winners of Wales against Northern Ireland on July 1 in Lille. 
5.Germany vs Slovakia 
Germany are aiming to emulate Spain and France and lift the European Championship trophy while World Cup holders - but will face a tough test against Slovakia. Slovakia's backline will be extensively tested once again when they meet Germany, with the winner facing either Italy or Spain in Bordeaux on July 2. 
6. Italy vs Spain 
Group E was supposed to be the 'group of death' but Antonio Conte's men not only finished top but won it with a game to spare. The current European champions, Spain, may have suffered a shock defeat to Croatia but still look strong enough to go far in the tournament, with Alvaro Morata netting three goals already. The winner could be heading for another blockbuster encounter, should Germany see off Slovakia in their last-16 tie. 
7. France vs Republic of Ireland 
France's progress in the tournament has more to do with Dimitri Payet than anyone else. The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, left it late to secure their progression to the last 16. The winner will play England or Iceland in the Stade de France on July 3. 
8. England vs Iceland 
England, meanwhile, must be counting their lucky stars having avoided all the big teams. They face Iceland and will go into the match as overwhelming favourites. But Iceland after impressing in their win over Austria in the group stage have shown that they won't be rollovers. 

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