Here is a quick preview of each of the Round of 16 games.
Switzerland vs. Poland
June 25th at 9:00 am EST on ESPN
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint Etienne
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (England)
Both of these teams are now looking to take their ambitions higher now that they are in the knockout stages. Poland’s Robert Lewandowski is yet to score but he could be the difference this time around. If Switzerland hopes to make a deep run then they will need to find some offense as they only scored 2 goals in the group stage.
My Pick – Poland
Conor’s Pick – Poland
Wales vs. Northern Ireland
June 25th at 12:00 pm EST on ESPN
Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: Martin Atkinson (England)
A battle of Great Britain as Wales and Northern Ireland meet in the Round of 16. The only real question I have is how far can Gareth Bale lead Wales. They will now be the favorites to advance so we shall see how this impacts the Welsh side and if they are able to perform up to expectation.
My Pick – Wales
Conor’s Pick – Wales
Croatia vs. Portugal
June 25th at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN
Stade Bollaert-Deleis, Lens
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
This is one of the better Round of 16 match ups and now features two teams that if they are able to win should be favorites to make it to the final. Ronaldo seems to be scoring again which is key. For Croaita, the key is Luka Modric’s health. He is a game changer and if healthy could make them the team to beat.
My Pick – Croatia
Conor’s Pick – Portugal
France vs. Republic of Ireland
June 26th at 9:00 am EST on ESPN
Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
The talk across the pond is how this could be the revenge game for the Thierry Henry hand ball during a 2010 World Cup qualification playoff game. Can the Irsih who had struggled in the tournament until they found the winner against Italy really push the host? How good is Dimitri Payet? We are about to find out a lot about the French and if they have what it takes to win this tournament as Their road to the final is not going to be easy.
My Pick – France
Conor’s Pick – Ireland
Germany vs. Slovakia
June 26th at 12:00 pm EST on ESPN
Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Vileneuve-d’Ascq
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
The World Champions will look to advance to the quarterfinals easily over Slovakia. They seemed to have found the answer up front in Mario Gomez and will look to win the World Cup and European Championship in back to back tournaments.
My Pick – Germany
Conor’s Pick – Germany
Hungary vs. Belgium
June 26th at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN
Stadium Municipal, Toulouse
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)
This game really intrigues me as I think both of these teams have the potential to make it all the way to the final. Hungary has been the surprise team of the tournament in a good way and you could argue that Belgium has been the surprise team in a bad way. The question here is are Hungary really a talented team or will Belgium’s superstars be enough?
My Pick – Hungary
Conor’s Pick – Hungary
Italy vs. Spain
June 27th at 12:00 pm EST on ESPN
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Wow, wow, wow! This is a must watch game. A repeat of the last European Championships final. Italy won their group and got the worst prize in the world, the defending European Champions. Spain meanwhile finally conceded and was defeated for the first time in what seems like forever at the Euros. Both teams suffered defeat on the final matchday, who will rebound better?
My Pick – Spain
Conor’s Pick – Spain
England vs. Iceland
June 27th at 3:00 pm EST on ESPN
Allianz Riviera, Nice
If you are not English, I kind of think that you must be cheering for Iceland now. This small nation has excited everyone and they can dream. They are the smallest nation to ever make the knockout stages of the Euros. England will need to figure out what their best 11 are and fast as they still are struggling to find their balance.
My Pick – England
Conor’s Pick – England
The score after the group stage is Conor 15, Me 14. The points now double. I will be back after the round of 16 to recap and preview the quarterfinals.