UEFA Euro 2016 quarterfinals:
After a couple days rest, Euro 2016 resumes with the quarterfinals. First, Portugal will face Poland, then Belgium will take on Wales following by the match of this round between the World Champions Germany and a resilient and pleasant Italian team. Finally, the hosts France will conclude the quarterfinals against the surprising side of Iceland, undefeated so far in the tournament.
One of the eight remaining teams will conquer Europe and succeed two the back-to-back champions Spain, eliminated by Italy. Many will follow the Euro results as the excitement is back. Although Portugal, Belgium and France seem to have to the most favorable matches to advance to the next round, this tournament has already proven to be quite unexpected, as matter of fact ask the English for it.
Three teams have paved their way to the quarterfinals for the first time as Poland, Iceland and Wales will make their first appearance. For the last two nations, it is their first Euro ever. The new Euro Championship configuration with 24 teams instead of 16 during the past editions have opened up the competition to smaller football countries that never had the chance to compete at the highest continental level.
Our eyes will obviously be turned on the clash between Germany and Italy. The two nations have been simply the most successful teams in Europe with numerous FIFA World Cups and UEFA Euro titles. Germany have not beaten Italy in the past eight major tournament meetings whereas Italy defeated Germany in the semifinals of the last tournament four years ago. For the Italians, after Belgium and Spain now Germany comes their way to complete the big 3. Their neighbors, France have had a much easier road to the quarterfinals including no meetings with European powers. And, whereas we expected a very appealing matchup between France and England, Iceland decided to make history in front of astounded and gobsmacked English fans.
Belgium will face Wales and it failed to score against the Welsh in both meeting in qualifying to the UEFA Euro 2016. Wales took 4 points out of Belgium on the road to France and we expect a very close game on Friday.
France will play at Stade de France against a country of just 330,000 people and 100 professional players. The abnegation and determination Iceland players have putted in this competition are an example for all small nations to show that everything is possible and they will be on high after eliminating England. Payet and Griezmann will likely be the focal point of the French attack to reach the semifinals.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos previews his quarterfinal against Poland
“My counterpart believes Poland will go through; I believe we will go through. There are no favorites – it’s 50-50.
It’s going to be a balanced game, although I don’t think Poland resemble any team we’ve played so far. They’re a very strategic team. They go from defense to attack very quickly and you can tell a lot of work has been done behind the scenes. When we have the ball ourselves, we’ll try and take advantage of their weak points”.
Poland coach Adam Nawalka
“I think we have proved what we’re capable of but let’s wait until the match. We know our strengths and that we are capable of going through. It’s no surprise that we’ve got results at this tournament. We’ve been making good progress and we expect to deliver a high level of football”.