Eisha Acton
8 min readJun 27, 2021


Here’s my Euro 2020 round of 16 preview.

Italy vs Austria:

Italy have been amazing and completely dominant in the group stage. 9 points from 9, 7 goals scored and 0 conceded, Italy are looking very very strong. Coming into the tournament no one really expected Italy to perform this well and most expected a R16/QF exit but now that the group stage is over, people are very weary of what they can do. Some standout players have been Locatelli in the hub of the midfield, Spinazzola providing all the width down the left and Immobile has also contributed, scoring 2 goals. Mancini has made the Azzurri into an efficient, lethal, good on the eye team and most teams will be fearful to face them. Austria have a mountain to climb.

Looking at Austria, they performed okay in their group. Their only loss came against Netherlands and that shouldn’t be a surprise as Netherlands have also done really well this summer. A 3–1 win over North Macedonia and a 1–0 win against Ukraine show they are capable of playing well but also shutting up shop and frustrating the opposition. Their star player, David Alaba, has ran the show for them and most of the attacks he does have quite a say in. Sabitzer has also been quite impressive, very aggressive but is quite attack minded and is involved in building up attacks. Although Austria have been okay in the group stage, I expect Italy to beat them and in the end Austria will make it easy for them. 2–0 to Italy

Wales vs Denmark:

Denmark’s tournament was struck with tragedy in the first game against Finland, with Eriksen suffering a cardiac arrest. Thankfully he is better now but that was a very emotionally draining game for the Danes and unfortunately they went on to lose that game 1–0 because of a penalty. They then played Belgium and were actually leading before Belgium brought on De Bruyne and well, you know the rest. Denmark’s final game was against Russia and they needed a win to have any chance of qualifying. It was a thrilling game that ended 4–1 to the Danes and they have now qualified because of that result. Eriksen is a big miss for them as he was their main creator but they still do have a few technical players, Damsgaard played well against Russia and he is still very young, Maehle ran the whole left side on his own and of course their striker Poulsen who is their main goalscorer. Wales will have a tough time against them.

Moving on to Wales and they have over performed what most people expected from them. A 1–1 first game with Switzerland which no one expected, a 2–0 win over Turkey thanks to a masterclass from Gareth Bale and only a 1–0 loss to Italy but they did have 10 men. Wales have done really well for themselves and they have shown they are quite a hard team to break down, especially considering they have only conceded 2 goals. Bale has decided to play out of his skin as well and show he still is that world class player from Madrid, Daniel James has shown his qualities up and down the wing, almost becoming the main outlet for counter attacks with his pace. This will be a very tough game to call and will be extremely tight. I think this goes to extra time and Denmark edge it by a goal. 1–0 to Denmark.

Netherlands vs Czech Republic:

Netherlands have been in fine form going into this match. A 100% perfect record leaving the group stage will instill a lot of confidence into the team, especially considering people weren’t really that sure of them as a team and the general consensus was that they would underperform but they have been very very good. Their last result, a 3–0 win versus Macedonia was a very good game for them, fluid in attack and constantly threatening the Macedonia goal. If I could pick one fault it would be that they’re not that quick in the transition from attack to defence and against a Czech Republic team who have that capability to counter then that could be a potential problem.

Czech Republic have been okay this tournament. Their defence has been quite leaky and I feel like it isn’t that solid to deal with the Dutch attack. Schick on the other hand has been very good form them in the tournament, being their focal point in attack. 3 goals in 3 games for the Leverkusen striker means he has scored all their goals and I don’t know if that’s sustainable enough to continue. Against a superior opponent like England they didn’t really threaten and I expect the same when they face Netherlands. A 2–1 win to the Netherlands.

Belgium vs Portugal:

One of the better clashes in the round of 16. Two heavyweights and two favourites will go head to head in this thrilling encounter. Belgium entered the tournament as people’s 2nd or 3rd team so there is this expectancy already on their shoulders and I’d say they’ve dealt with it well. Lukaku has been firing, scoring 3 goals, and De Bruyne regaining full fitness and already having 2 assists will be a massive boost to Roberto Martinez. The one thing I worry about for them is their shaky defence, they’re not the most solid of central defenders but only one goal conceded speaks for itself. Their midfield and attack makes up for it and it’s definitely one of the best in Europe.

Portugal have been quite a weird team. A convincing 3–0 win over Hungary, a 4–2 thrashing from Germany humbled them and then a 2–2 draw with France. A strange run of results but what we haven’t found strange is Ronaldo being involved amongst the goals. He’s already scored 5 goals and got 1 assist. And he’s 36. Unreal player and all the pressure is on him to deliver. Bruno Fernandes has been really underwhelming this tournament and was rightfully benched against France where Renato Sanches stole the show. Conceding 4 to Germany was also very unlike Portugal who are normally solid team but it seems they have recovered their confidence with the draw against France. I’d say it’ll be a goal fest but Portugal edge it out and win 3–2.

France vs Switzerland:

Probably everyone’s main choice when asked who is winning the Euros. The best midfield in Europe and one of the most talented squads to go around it. France have quality oozing in every position. Naturally, with these level of players you expect them to win and dominate each game A 1–0 win over Germany which is a very solid result, a disappointing 1–1 with Hungary and a 2–2 with a resilient Portugal. Nothing to get excited about as it was expected. A lot was expected of Paul Pogba and boy has he delivered. He’s controlled the midfield almost all the time, threading outrageous passes to Benzema and Mbappe. He should have more assists but he still has performed at his peak level.

Switzerland weren’t that impressive this tournament. They always have a decent squad but never seem to do anything. A 1–1 draw with Wales, a 3–0 thrashing from Italy and a 3–1 win here, against the worst team in the whole tournament, Turkey. I don’t have much faith in them at all and I expect France to dominate them. A 3–0 win for France.

Croatia vs Spain:

Croatia have had a mixed tournament. Since their success in the 2018 World Cup, a lot has changed with Rakitic, Subasic and Mandzukic all retiring from international duty. They do still have key players like Modric, Lovren, Vida and Perisic but you can tell it’s not the same and it was evident in the group stage. A poor performance against England which led to a 1–0 loss, a good draw against Czech Republic and a very good 3–1 win against Scotland. They have been a bit toothless and do lack that cutting edge sometimes but when you have Modric anything is possible.

Spain have been the biggest disappointment so far. Morata has been so wasteful in front of goal and so have most of the Spaniards. No goals scored against Sweden, only 1 against Poland and they put 5 past Slovakia. They’ve also missed 2 penalties, Gerard Moreno and Morata both of whom are strikers. Spain are a good team, they control the ball, have possession and dominate the game but when it comes to the final shot, they’re missing something and that is a clinical striker. If they had a David Villa or a Diego Costa I’d be much more confident in them but right now I’m not that sure for them. Saying all this I do think that they will just edge past Croatia in extra time and it’ll finish 2–1 to Spain.

England vs Germany:

England fans have not entirely happy with their Euro campaign this summer. They had a group when you compare them to the quality of England’s squad and yet they were quite boring/uninspiring. Only 2 goals scored, both from Sterling but no goals conceded, just like the Italians. Southgate has been rotating his attacking options but fans are still crying out for Sancho to start a game and get minutes under his belt. Phillips has been very impressive while Kane has been far from it, barely getting 100 touches in 3 games. Southgate will have to change a bit to keep up with the Germans.

Die Mannschift have done exactly how people predicted they would. They kind of scraped through to get to here, a 1–0 loss to France, a 4–2 thumping of Portugal and a disappointing 2–2 with group underdogs Hungary. They’ve been okay, their defence is a bit shaky, their midfield is up there with the best, especially Kroos, Goretzka, Kimmich and Gundogan as options. Havertz has turned up for , scoring 2 goals and has been their unlikely hero. I think Germany just have the edge on them mentality wise and that will push them over the edge and be enough. 2–1 win to Germany.

Sweden vs Ukraine:

Sweden played very decent in the group and turned out to be quite solid. Only 2 goals conceded, 2 clean sheets, makes for a very good defensive record. Their standout player has to be their young striker, Alexander Isak. He has lit up the tournament for Sweden, showcasing his very intricate footwork for such a tall player, it reminds me of Henry when he used to take 3 or 4 man. Sweden also have Kulusevski off the bench so they do have a very solid attack paired up with their good defence.

Ukraine had an okay group stage. An exciting 3–2 loss to Netherlands, a 2–1 win over Macedonia and then a 1–0 loss to Austria on the final day. Not the most exciting but their forwards have been very good, especially Yaremchuk and Yarmolenko. They both have 2 goals each and with Zinchenko and Malinovskyi in the midfield, it’s the perfect balance between attack and defence which is so crucial. Their Achilles heel is definitely their keeper. He’s looked quite shaky, nervous ok the ball and doesn’t make all the saves you’d expect him to make. I think Isak will light up this game and I think it’ll be 2–0 to Sweden.