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Preview: Euro 2016 Round of 16

Preview: Euro 2016 Round of 16

Brazil

Euro 2016 has reached the business end – the knockout stage. 16 teams will be whittled down to just two finalists and there are tantalizing ties on offer.

Kicking off the campaign this saturday is Switzerland and Poland, before a meeting between Wales and Northern Ireland. Croatia entertain Portugal, while home side France will seek to overcome their underwhelming group stage performance against the Irish men.

Germany, Spain, England, Italy and Belgium are all in the same half of the draw for Sunday and Monday. The World Cup holders Germany will be hoping to follow up their success in Brazil by winning the Euro 2016 title, but Joachim Low’s side must first overcome Slovakia on Sunday.

Hammer and Tongs

Italy go hammer and tongs against Spain on Monday, in what many expect to be a scintillating match up. Italy now have every right to feel hard done by, after they topped a difficult group whereas the Spaniards fell to second place in their group after losing to Croatia.

Completing the round of 16 fixtures will be England, who face major tournament debutants Iceland, whose fairytale finish against Austria ensured that they, rather than Portugal, would be facing England.

The Guardian opines that their clash will be a dream draw for the fans, not because they see Roy Hodgson’s side as particularly beatable opposition, but because the English game is by far the most popular in Iceland.

England fans, meanwhile, celebrated Iceland’s late winner on Wednesday as if it were one of their own, but must now be wary of the same old story from the group stage.

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