Euro 2024 at the Round of 16

England's Jude Bellingham
England's Jude Bellingham

We have reached the Round of 16 in Euro 2024 and the two sides of the bracket could not be more uneven. Of the pre-tournament favorites, five teams remain. On one side we have Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France, while on the other we have England. The Brits could not have dreamt of a more lopsided opportunity.

While Spain and Germany are on one collision course, Portugal and France are on another and the winners will meet each other. Meanwhile, England plays Slovakia, the winner of the Italy-Switzerland match, and then awaits the mélange of Romania-Netherlands and Austria-Turkey to sort itself out and serve up their semifinal competitor. Euro 2024 Predictions

Given how the teams have played through the group stage, the four mentioned teams at the top of the bracket are the strongest and England would be the fifth of five. But by the time the four big boys have whittled themselves down to a finalist, England should be waiting and refreshed. This is the greatest opportunity they have had to win it all since they hosted the last Euro final.

So, what have we learned so far? First, that Spain is a contender and will have a clear path to a quarterfinal where they will likely meet nemesis and host Germany. Portugal, who had a disastrous end to their group stage and won their first game on a last-minute goal and their next game thanks to catastrophic Turkish mistakes, will be given a reprieve playing Slovenia before having to meet the winner of the Belgium-France match. The winner of that match will necessarily be favored against Portugal unless the Iberians upgrade their performance dramatically in their last opportunity to fine-tune their team against weaker opposition. 

Romania and the Netherlands should be an even-handed and entertaining encounter with the Dutch favored. Austria and Turkey are also even-handed with neither team a clear favorite. The ultimate survivor will likely play England.

In the bottom of the bracket is another even-handed match the Swiss against the Italians. The former always overachieve and the latter are desperate to make a continental repeat to atone for their recent international failures. The team that wins gets England, who should beat Slovakia with less effort than their eventual opponents will have to put in to reach their quarterfinal match.

If things go to form, we will get Germany-Spain, France-Portugal, Netherlands-Austria, and England-Italy, and say goodbye to Kevin de Bruyne and his fabulous generation of underachievers. From there, given their performance so far, the hosts are in an even-handed match with no clear favorite, while the first team in each successive pairing is favored to advance. If Germany can ride their home crowd to a semifinal, they will meet France or a resurgent Portugal. If it is the French, and Kylian Mbappe is back in decent health and form, Les Blues will progress to the final as expected, if he’s not, Germany moves on. If the Portuguese sneak through against France, it will be because they have finally found the formula to match their talent, to meaningful results while finding a spot for Cristiano Ronaldo, and then they will also beat Germany. Papa feels that Spain is good, but due to have a letdown as all tournament teams usually do, and unfortunately for La Roja, it will happen in the knockout rounds.  

At the bottom part of the bracket, no matter who else we are left with, England should handle them and reach the finals. If England play a still-in-form Portugal, the Iberians will win the Euro if they meet a recuperated Kylian and company, the French win it. If Portugal or France are at anything but their best, the Cup will finally make its way to London, likely courtesy of some Jude Bellingham magic.

Shutterstock photo ID—2280756997, by Vicenzo Izzo.

TAGS—Toni Kroos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin de Bruyne, Jude Bellingham, Euro 2024,

Keyword—England

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