Euro 2016 day 17 last-16 review and preview
The first game of the day saw France defeat ten man Republic of Ireland 2-1 in Lyon to make it through to the quarter-finals of the competition. Ireland headed into this contest as major underdogs, but were handed an early boost, as they were awarded a penalty kick after just two minutes.
Shane Long was brought down by Paul Pogba and Robbie Brady’s low penalty found the net off the post and gave Martin O’Neill’s side the perfect start. Ireland held on to the lead until 57th minute. Bacary Sagna swung in a cross from the right and Antoine Griezmann powered a header past Darren Randolph.
The Atletico Madrid striker scored his brace four minutes later. Olivier Giroud won an aerial challenge with the two Irish centre-backs and Griezmann latched onto the ball and slotted past Randolph.
Ireland’s chances of getting back into the game diminished on 66 minutes as defender Shane Duffy brought Griezmann down when the striker was in on-goal for his hat-trick.
Ireland never really threatened Les Bleus goal and France substitute Andre Pierre-Gignac smashed an effort against the bar. France will now play the winner of the England v Iceland game next Sunday in the quarter-finals.
World champions Germany made light work of Slovakia in their last-16 clash, winning 3-0 in Lille.
Die Mannschaft took the lead after just eight minutes. The ball fell to defender Jerome Boateng on the edge of area and the Bayern Munich star volleyed powerfully into the bottom corner of the net via a deflection.
Germany had a chance to double their lead on 13 minutes from the penalty spot, but Mesut Ozil stepped-up and saw Slovakian ‘keeper Kozacik produce a very good save. Joachim Low’s team doubled their lead two minutes before the break.
Julian Draxler did well down the wing and found Mario Gomez at the near post who flicked the ball home from a few yards out. Germany made it three on 63 minutes. Mats Hummels header a set-piece to back post and Draxler produced a superb volley from close-range.
Die Mannschaft will now face the winner of Spain v Italy in Bordeaux in the quarter-finals on 2nd July.
Belgium produced a commanding 4-0 win over Hungary in a highly entertaining last-16 clash in Toulouse. The Red Devils took the lead on ten minutes, as centre-back Toby Alderweireld headed home from a pinpoint free-kick from Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne.
Belgium continued to dominate the game, but only doubled their lead on 78 minutes. Young Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi scored within seconds of replacing Romelu Lukaku. Eden Hazard produced a superb cross for the youngster to slot home from a few yards out.
It took just another minute for Marc Wilmots’ team to make it three. Hazard cut in from the left took on two defenders and from the edge of the area and curled home a fantastic effort past Gabor Kiraly in the Hungary goal.
The Red Devils scored a fourth in stoppage-time, hitting Hungary on the counter-attack. Radja Nainggolan played Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco in on goal, he advanced on goal and fired past Kiraly at the near post.
It was a highly-impressive display Wilmots’ side, who now face Wales in the quarter-finals on Friday in Lille.
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.
Day 15 at Euro 2016 saw the start of the round of 16, with three tight clashes that saw Poland, Wales and Portugal head through, while Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Croatia left the competition.
The first last-16 football clash took place between Switzerland and Poland with Poland prevailing on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in normal and extra-time. Poland had the better of the first half and took the lead on 39 minutes.
Winger Kamil Grosicki fired a cross into the area which found Jakub Blaszczykowski at the far post and the former-Dortmund man fired through the legs of Yann Sommer in the Switzerland goal.
Switzerland seem to come out with more purpose in the second half and striker Haris Seferovic rattled the bar, before Vladimir Petkovic’s team equalised with just eight minutes left on the clock through a contender for goal of the tournament.
Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross was only half-cleared by Pazdan to the edge of the area, only for Stoke playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri to twist his body and produced a fantastic scissor-kick that beat Lukasz Fabianski all ends-up.
Switzerland were the stronger team in extra-time, but in the end the two teams looked to have settled for penalties. The only player to miss in the shoot-out was Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka who fired his spot-kick well wide of goal. Sevilla star Grzegorz Krychowiak stepped-up to score the winning penalty and send Poland through to the knockout stages.
The second last-16 tie also produced a tight game as Wales saw off fellow British team Northern Ireland 1-0 in Paris.
Wales’ midfielder Aaron Ramsey had a goal disallowed earlier in the game, but the Dragons did take the lead on 75 minutes in rather fortunate circumstances. Gareth Bale found space down the left and whipped in a cross and Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley stuck his leg out to prod the ball past his own ‘keeper.
Chris Coleman’s side will now face either Hungary or Belgium in the last-8 of the competition in their first ever European Championships campaign.
To complete a treble of close last-16 ties, Croatia and Portugal drew 0-0 in normal-time, only for Portugal to find a winner with just three minutes left in extra-time. Croatia came close to taking the lead just seconds earlier, as Ivan Perisic headed an effort against the post.
However, it was the Portuguese that won a rather dull contest in the end. Inevitably Cristiano Ronaldo was involved, as the Real Madrid star saw an effort on goal brilliantly saved by Danijel Subasic, only for Ricardo Quaresma to head home from a couple of yards out.
Portugal will now face Poland in the quarter-finals in a game that both teams will be confident of winning.