The knockout stages of Euros kick start tonight when Switzerland will face Poland. The second match will be between two British rivals Northern Ireland and Wales and the last match of the night will be audacious tie where Croatia will face Portugal. Here is a review of all the action for the night.
A preview of tonight’s encounters at the Euros
Switzerland vs Poland
This will be a tricky encounter as both the teams finished second in the points table. The Polish team has been brilliant defensively and was able to stop the world champions in a stalemate. Switzerland was largely unconvincing in the group stages after having a great and talented pool of squad. This match will be won in the centered of the park where Switzerland has greater dominance as they reap the services of Granit Xahaka, their star player this term. Switzerland may come up with the same side that played a stalemate to the hosts. Polish team will not be able to field Wojciech Szczesny because of the injury and hence will have to play Fabianski. The Swiss team is also brilliant defensively and will want to stop the polish attack in any way possible. Robert Lewandowski, who was the top scorer in the qualifiers, is yet to open his account at the Euros. Poland defense is yet to be breached and that his a good stat for them. Both the teams have qualified for the knockouts for the first time and will desperately want to proceed into the quarterfinals.
Verdict – Poland
The Swiss team has looked a bit untidy at times, but Poland has been rock solid and if Lewandowski can discover his goal scoring exploits, then it will be a walk in the park in Poland.
Northern Ireland vs Wales
On the cards this encounter looks fairly competent but considering the current form it looks like a one way tie. Both British teams will come up with a fully fit squad. The Wales’s boss will have to make a decision about which player starts for them as a striker in the knockouts. They both are meeting for the first time in the knockout stages of any international tournament and have earned a historic qualification to the knockouts for the first time too. Northern Ireland will once again look up to McGovern to come up with another stellar performance. The Wales team will look up to their savior Gareth bale who leads the golden boot race in the Euros.
Verdict – Wales
This should be an easy win match for the Welsh teams they have been much better than their British counterpart in the group stages.
Croatia vs Portugal
This is a knockouts encounter which has made particular Buzz. Portugal qualified as the best third placed team while Croatia was the group leaders in a tricky group where they beat Spain. Both the teams don’t have an Injury scare; the good news in the Croatian camp will be the return of Luka Modric who missed the Spanish tie. Croatian boss also has to choose whether to field Mario Mandzukic or Nikola Kalinic, whose name was on the score sheet against Spain. The match will largely between the sublimely talented Croatian midfield and power packed Portugal attack. Croatia came into this match by beating the Spanish team and ending their 14 match unbeaten run at the Euros, but Portugal will also be high on the moral because of the goal scoring exploits of their superman Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal will have to be aware of the Ivan Persic threat which could be the wild card in the match.
Verdict – Croatia
Some will surely disagree with me, but Croatia’s Morales are on high and they also have the winning momentum with them against a Portugal that has been mediocre this term.