Yesterday’s set of games saw two of the three head to extra time with goals coming at a premium. There are three last 16 games today with some brilliant games in prospect. Here’s your preview of today’s fixtures.
Hosts France take on a spirited Irish side this afternoon in Lyon. France topped Group A defeating Romania and Albania before drawing with Switzerland. Ireland dominated Sweden in their opening game but an own goal saw them draw before losing 3-0 to Belgium. In order to qualify for the last 16 the Boys in Green had to beat Italy. An 85th minute header from Robbie Brady secured their place in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time. Ireland will be encouraged by Albania’s performance against France where the Albania’s held France for well over 80 minutes before two late goals saw France win. Ireland are up against it today but they have nothing to lose. The pressure is on hosts France to perform today and Irish fans still have memories of Henry’s infamous handball in the back of their minds heading into this one.
Germany have yet to move into second gear in this competition merely getting the job done against Northern Ireland and Ukraine. The 2-0 scoreline against Ukraine flatters to deceive as the Ukrainians deserved at least one goal. The Germans were then content to draw 0-0 with Poland in a dull match before defeating Northern Ireland 1-0. Mario Gomez was introduced into the German side and is as such their only out-and-out striker. Slovakia came very close to drawing with Wales, demolished Russia and held England to qualify as one of the best third placed teams. Marek Hamsik has lit up the midfield however credit must be given to the back four who successfully kept England at bay. Germany recently played Slovakia in a friendly and lost with Hamsilk scoring a stunning winner. All in all Germany are favourites but Slovakia would be happy to take this one to extra time and even penalties.
Hungary have been one of the surprises of the tournament topping Group F thanks to a win and two draws. They shocked Austria in the opening game with a 2-0 win before a late Icelandic own goal gifted them a point. They then played out a thrilling game against Portugal that ended 3-3. Belgium were stunned by Italy in their opening game with the Italians defeating them 2-0. They soon rebounded hammering Ireland 3-0 before overcoming Sweden thanks to a late strike from Radja Nainggolan. Belgium are huge favourites heading into this one but Hungary don’t seem to feel the pressure that comes on the international stage. If Belgium don’t perform today Hungary could defiantly take advantage and progress.
There is your preview to today’s games. Enjoy the football and be sure to check back here for full match reports on all the games.