Well that was a rather good group stage. 4 British Isles sides through is a particularly marvellous outcome – rather jealous as a Scot that we didn’t have the opportunity, but I have no doubt we’d have still failed miserably.
I’ve just had the pleasure of watching Ireland beat Italy, for the first time since I last watched Ireland beat Italy in 1994. Even Roy Keane was happy!
Anyway, given the last 16 is complete, I thought I’d have a go at predicting the outcome of these matches.
So in no particular order:
England will beat Iceland
France will beat Ireland (sadly)
Wales will beat Northern Ireland
Germany will beat Slovakia (even though the Slovaks gubbed them in Augsburg a few weeks ago)
Poland will beat Switzerland
Spain will defeat Italy
Belgium will beat Hungary – after Hungary’s fantastic performance against an Airwaves coloured Portugal though, it’ll be a tough gig for Belgium
Croatia will beat Portugal
Think I got about half of the group qualifiers right – will report back again after this little lot. As for the expanded tournament format, I’m mostly enjoying it. While there has been a dip in quality, there has been an equal increase in drama and the performance of the home nations (and Ireland) has been particularly great. The fact that one of Wales and Northern Ireland will be in a European Championship quarter finals is fantastic – it really is hard to beat a summer international tournament.