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Germany, France and Belgium Favourites to Progress

Day 16 of Euro 2016 sees the second lot of last-16 ties being played, with hosts France facing Republic of Ireland in the early kick-off.

The hosts were unbeaten in the group stages, but needed late goals against both Romania and Albania to confirm wins. A draw against Switzerland confirmed Les Bleus as group winners and put them through to this tie.

Ireland are likely to be another team that will defend deep and restrict the space for France, although boss Martin O’Neill has revealed that he plans for his team to attack the hosts and not sit back like some of Les Bleus previous opposition.

France are likely to once again look to West Ham star Dimitri Payet for creativity and imagination. The former-Marseille player has scored twice on home soil and is likely to be a key player once again for Didier Deschamps team.

France heads into this clash as big favourites and Les Bleus are five games unbeaten against the Emerald Isles.

Ireland made it through to the knockout stages by finishing third in their group, drawing with Sweden and beating Italy in their final group game to set up this difficult last-16 clash with France.

Martin O’Neill’s side will be major underdogs heading into this clash, but the Irish have a tendency to enjoy being the underdog and could well frustrate the host nation for long periods.

Attention then moves to the second last-16 tie in Lille between world champions Germany and Slovakia.

Germany topped their group as expected with wins over Ukraine and Northern Ireland, while also drawing with Poland. Die Mannschaft have yet to concede, despite apparent worries over their full-backs.

Joachim Low’s side will be highly confident of winning this clash and the world champions look to be just getting warmed-up in France.

Slovakia made it through to the knockout stages by finishing third in Group B behind England and group winners Wales. Jan Kozak’s side defeated Russia 2-1 and then drew with England in their final game to confirm a place in the knockout stages.

In Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik Slovakia have a player capable of creating and scoring goals, even if he has not yet quite hit top form in France. Slovakia may be underdogs, but they will be buoyed by the fact that they recorded a 3-1 win over Germany, although the world champions did field an experimental team in that clash.

The last game of the day is in Toulouse were surprise package Hungary faces Belgium.

Hungary managed to top Group F, despite the presence of more illustrious teams Portugal and Austria. Bernd Storck’s team recorded a win over Austria, before drawing with Iceland and Portugal in their last group game.

Hungary are underdogs to make the quarter-finals, but they will not mind that as the odds were against them in qualifying and the group stages as well.

Belgium finished second in their group having won games against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden and will fancy their chances of progression, especially as the Red Devils have won eight of the previous meetings against Hungary.

Highly-rated striker Romelu Lukaku will be looking to add to his tally of two goals in France and help his team to the last-8.

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