Denmark vs. Wales
Denmark is favored, but Wales is good as well. Gareth Bale is showing why he’s still one of the top talents in the world and Aaron Ramsey is taking charge in the midfield. Denmark may be past its early struggles after Christian Eriksen’s collapse, but still only has one win in the last three contests.
Italy vs. Austria
Italy has raced past everyone in the group stage so far, showing why it is considered one of the favorites in the tournament. Austria has a solid back line with David Alaba and Stefan Lainer, but the Italians are rightfully favored.
Netherlands vs. Czech Republic
Netherlands is unsurprisingly favored to win this one after they cruised through the group stage with three straight victories, winning Group C in the process. Georginio Wijnaldum led the way with three goals while Memphis Depay added two goals and two assists of his own. That’s not to say Czech Republic are already down and out before it even starts, though. They finished the group stage with a 2-0 win, a 1-1 draw, and a narrow 1-0 loss against England, and should put up a fight against the Dutch even though they’re the clear underdogs. Patrik Schick finished the group stage with three goals, including one absolute world-class wonder goal in the opening match.
Croatia vs. Spain
No surprise here that Spain are the favorites to win over Croatia, especially after their 5-0 shellacking of Slovakia in their third and final group stage match. Spain finished in second place, just two points behind Sweden and will take on the second-place team from Group D which ended up Croatia. The Croatians finished the group stage 1-1-1, winning their third and final match with a 3-1 scoreline over Scotland, just barely edging out Czech Republic on a tiebreaker. Luka Modric and his squad will look to upset the Spanish giants despite the odds being stacked against them.
England vs. Germany
England fared better in their group standings than Germany did, but then again England wasn’t drawn into the group of death, either. Three Lions finished top of Group D, logging wins over both Croatia and Czech Republic while ending their match against Scotland in a scoreless draw, scoring only two goals through three games. Germany finished second in Group F, narrowly escaping elimination at the hands of Hungary before they found a late game equalizer. They were able to take down Portugal 4-2 in their second game after opening the group campaign with a 1-0 loss to France. Now these two sides will face off against each other in the Round of 16, and while England is only slightly favored here to Germany, I would argue it could be flipped as Germany definitely has the talent to move on. This game could easily go either way, and will be an exciting affair to watch.
Belgium vs. Portugal
Portugal, after escaping Group F in third place, will have to take on a very good Belgium side who went 3-0-0 in Group B, locking up the top spot without much trouble. Belgium only allowed one goal through three games — their 2-1 win over Denmark — while scoring seven of their own. Romelu Lukaku was a standout as he notched three goals for the Red Devils while several other players added one each. Portugal also totaled seven goals through the group stage, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the way with an impressive five. Belgium is favored to win, and I think that’s the right call, but Ronaldo and the Portugal squad could be poised for an upset.
France vs. Switzerland
The reigning World Cup champs are riding high after finishing first in Group F. Karim Benzema led the way with two goals as Kylian Mbappe surprisingly didn’t get even one. They’re heavily favored to beat Switzerland and rightfully so — as the Swiss sneaked through in the Group A’s third-place spot. Switzerland has some big players in Kevin Mbabu and Xherdan Shaqiri, but France is the obvious choice for the win here.
Sweden vs. Ukraine
Sweden finished at the top of Group E thanks to a stoppage time goal from Viktor Claesson in their third and final group stage game, giving them a 3-2 win over Poland. Striker Emil Forsberg scored the other three goals in the opening stage while their defense was able to keep two clean sheets including a scoreless draw with Spain. While Ukraine didn’t fare too well, they slipped through with the third place spot in Group C thanks to the three points they collected from North Macedonia in a 2-1 win. They lost their other two outings, and honestly their odds to win don’t seem low enough, as Sweden should definitely be expected to win this contest.
What is your take? Let me know in your comments below.