Credit: THE TELEGRAPH
Euro 2020’s group stages are out of the way and it’s knockout football from here on in. Here’s an attempt to predict the rest of the tournament. If you want to have a go yourself then you can map out the remainder of the competition using Telegraph Sport’s predictor.
Out in last 16
They were going out of the tournament at one point during Wednesday’s exciting conclusion to Group F, but the late Leon Goretzka equaliser rescued them – a most un-German state of affairs. The win over Portugal in their second group game is currently looking like the anomaly in their form.
It is hard to say what manager Joachim Low’s last Germany team is – other than it was at its best when reliant on the wing-backs Kimmich and Gosens to create the chances. Only Spain have had more possession than Germany so far in this tournament. They do not seem to be able to convert it into goals.
They play in the classic Spanish style, just without the same quality of individuals that the great Spain team of 2008 to 2012 had at its disposal. The calamitous Slovakians collapsed against them in the third game. Before then it looked like manager Luis Enrique’s side were predictable and a little one-paced over the course of two draws.
No team has had a greater possession count over their three games than Spain – averaging out at 68.7 per cent – but even in spite of the five goals against Slovakia they miss a lot of the chances they create. Their 209 attacks is the highest in the competition but only 19 attempts on target.
The defending champions have found a way through with the draw against France, and the aura of Ronaldo – who is the competition’s top scorer with five, three from the penalty spot – still counts for a lot. Their manager Fernando Santos dropped Fernandes for the France game and brought in Sanches who has played well this tournament.
Fernandes’ form suggests he is tired. Player-for-player they look as good as any side but the handbrake is always on. Belgium are the opposite and the experience in this Portugal squad will count for a lot. They always keep their nerve, however rocky it looks.
Their top goalscorer Patrick Schick was marked out the game at Wembley against England and the team looked limited as it tried to get an equaliser. That said they competed well and like to press high up the pitch for periods of games which will test the Dutch commitment to passing out in Budapest. The Czechs preyed effectively on the weaknesses of Scotland. They are very dangerous from set-pieces and England were careful not to give away free-kicks and corners. May fancy their chances against a relatively open Dutch side.
Once again borne along on the belief that they are greater than the sum of their parts, Wales are up against Denmark who also have a reliable team spirit to fall back upon – as well as home advantage. Only Hungary and Sweden have had less possession of the ball than the Welsh in this tournament and if they are to reach the last eight then, as manager Robert Page has said, they will have to be at their counter-attacking best.
Even so, they are hard to break down and have Bale and Ramsey in form. These two as well as other veterans of Euro 2016 have experience of going further in a tournament than their Danish opponents.
The first time Austria has ever reached the knockout stages of a Euros, and they did so with wins over North Macedonia and Ukraine. Expectations will be low given the run Italy are on and victory for Austria would be one of the greatest results in their history, going back to the 1954 World Cup finals.
A big debate over Alaba’s best position seems to have been settled. He played at left-back against Ukraine, instead of the centre, and as well as their captain and star name they have some talented players, including Sabitzer, Laimer and the mercurial Arnautovic. Unlikely to have much of the ball against Italy and will rely on the counter-attack.
Got their act together for the final game against Turkey and won well in Baku with two goals from Shaqiri. Their possession statistics show that in their three games they have averaged more possession than their formidable round-of-16 opposition France, and only Denmark and Italy have had more attempts on the opposition goal over the last three games. The quality of the France team makes it difficult to open up against them but in Shaqiri, Embolo and Seferovic, they do have players capable of a moment of excellence.
The only third-placed team to reach the final 16 with three points – not to mention a -1 goal difference – it would be fair to say that at any other Euros, Ukraine would have been back home by now. The comeback that ended in defeat to the Netherlands was entertaining but in the end it was the win over North Macedonia that were their only points. The likes of Yarmolenko and Malinovsky are undoubted talents and the draw has been kind to them. They have avoided one of the big names in the last 16.
Euros – Road to the final
Out in quarter-finals
The world’s No 1 ranked team have looked very dangerous with three wins from three and just a single goal conceded. Controlling Lukaku has been a lost cause for group stage defences although he is about to come up against a much better quality of opposition.
With De Bruyne and Hazard fit again, Belgium will control possession – the question for manager Roberto Martinez is whether he can find a way for his 3-4-3 system to cope with Portugal on the counter-attack. An experienced tournament side now under Martinez, with the current senior players arguably at their peak – or just going beyond it – this is a key moment for them.
Still feels like a work in progress, even with three wins from three in the group stage. They have eight goals in the tournament, more than any other side, having finished top of Group C. Their manager Frank De Boer has been loyal to the attacking principles of Dutch football – the question is what he thinks about the defensive principles. They will be favourites to beat the Czechs in Budapest and might be a team that gets better as the tournament progresses.
One of the revelations of the tournament so far, with a textbook low-block, bus-parked draw against Spain getting them on their way in Group E. They developed that with wins over Slovakia and then Poland, showing good spirit in the third game to come back having lost a two-goal lead.
They are defensively sound and even against Ukraine they are unlikely to abandon their approach. Sweden have averaged just 35.7 per cent possession over their three group games. They have got better at taking their chances with Isak and Forsberg looking promising on the counterattack.
Alexander Isak (left) has impressed for Sweden at Euro 2020
They looked very average against England, who managed to keep Modric out of the dangerous areas of the pitch – which was considerably less than Scotland could do at Hampden. Now facing Spain, their great No 10 would most likely get in the current Spanish team too, ideally suited to the way they play.
Croatia will surely sit deep and wait for their chance. Whether they have the players to take it is another question although experience will count for much and the World Cup finalists of 2018 have that. They will not have much of the ball and the question is whether Modric can get them on the front foot when Spain do lose it.
- Euro 2020 wallchart and predictor
Out in semi-finals
The thrilling win over Russia, showed that this team has something special and that there is also real quality – not least the 20-year-old Damsgaard who scored a spectacular goal in that 4-1 win in Copenhagen. Once they had got ahead the goals came naturally for this side.
They like to have the ball and even without Eriksen there are some creative, attacking players. Only Spain and Germany have made more attacks than the Danes in the competition so far and no one has made more attempts than them on the opposition goal.
The favourites with the strongest starting XI, yet only one win so far. Under manager Didier Deschamps this team has always tended to play within itself and indeed they won a World Cup that way. Pogba looked like a potential matchwinner against Portugal, and Benzema is scoring again.
A defeat to Switzerland would be one of the most unexpected results in the tournament’s history. France should be a long away ahead of the rest and maybe that will be how Euro 2020 ends but it still feels that it should be easier for them.
With two wins and a draw and no goals conceded in their three group games, manager Gareth Southgate has unexpectedly turned England into a defensively solid side. It was against the odds given the attacking players at his disposal. Prefers a double defensive midfield pairing of Phillips and Rice which limits his scope for a central creative threat in midfield.
In defence, Maguire was excellent in his comeback game against the Czechs. The emotion of playing Germany in a tournament and all that comes with it could be the greatest problem. They are well capable of winning the tie.
The unbeaten run of 30 games is one thing, but the defensive record is a revelation too. They have not conceded a goal in their last 11 games going back to a draw with the Netherlands in October last year, and over the course of the 30-game unbeaten run have conceded just seven – one of which was in a 9-1 thrashing of Armenia in Nov 2019.
It is not just about the defence, of course. Manager Roberto Mancini selected a squad that would give themselves for the cause. Not many big names, but what a team.