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Who is who? EURO-2016 round of 16 pairs. Part 1

Euro-2016 group stage is over! This means the competition is entering a round, which is faster, better, stronger! 16 teams out of 24 made their way to the PLAY-OFFs. They have reached the stage, where the teams have one game to either fail, or shine (some may fail and shine at the same time, but those are exceptions).

knockout-stage-euro-2016

Before you rush to determine your favorites, let’s first analyze how they reached this level, and what are some of the interesting facts you should know, before the kick-offs. Let’s start with first 4 clashes.

Switzerland v Poland

 June 25, 15:00 CET

Both Switzerland and Poland were the seconds in their teams. They both played a stable, constructive and tactical football with strong defense. They are the runners-up just because they lost the battle (not the direct clashes, though) to two of the tournament favorites: Switzerland gave the first place to France, Poland also missed the chance to head the group and only because they scored a goal less than Germany! These teams might turn out to have that power behind the throne and if this assumption is true, their clash will reveal it!

Robert+Lewandowski+Ukraine+v+Poland+Group

An interesting question to think on!

Bayern Munich deadly striker Robert Lewandowski has featured in all three games with only 4 shots, all off the target! Is this a bad competition for Lewandowski, or will he speed up against Switzerland?

Wales v Northern Ireland

June 25, 18:00 CET

No one would expect Wales to head their group with that much of self-confidence. They were the first in their battle against England, Slovakia and Russia. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey showed their leadership features (especially Bale) in the way towards being the first and facing a comparatively easy opponent Northern Ireland. The latter, in turn, can be fairly classified as an outsider of the battle, as the only win they recorded in the group stage was against Ukraine, which is considered the weakest team of the competition.

Gareth+Bale+Russia+v+Wales+Group+B+UEFA+Euro

An interesting question to think on!

Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak’s free-kick goal against Portugal was his fourth in the Euros and it’s a competition record. Keeping in mind Bale’s two amazing free kick goals in the group stage, do you think he will break this record? Will he score a direct free kick goal against Northern Ireland, too?

Croatia v Portugal

June 25, 21:00 CET

Both of these teams have an astonishing performance pattern in the Euros. Firstly, Croatia showed tactical football with creative midfield and won against Spain to head their team. That was the positive surprise. On the other hand, Portugal, which was in a comparatively easy group, did not win a single game and made their way through due to 3 draws and from the third place. Croatia showed enthusiasm against Spain to win and avoid Italy. But it turned out they now face Cristiano Ronaldo lead Portugal. Which one is worse?

srna-modric-subasic

An interesting question to think on!

During the game against Spain Modric told the goalkeeper, in which direction Sergio Ramos (his teammate from Real Madrid) will make his penalty shot. It worked, and Ramos missed. Will the same strategy work against Ronaldo? Will Ronaldo prepare for a similar scenario and change his shooting strategy?

Hungary v Belgium

June 26, 21:00 CET

Hungary won the group with Ronaldo’s Portugal. They have shown beautiful football, attacking more than other underdogs do. The were the first, but were unlucky enough to face Belgium, a team which failed at first (2-0 against Italy), but collected themselves keeping a clean sheet twice and scoring 4 goals. Belgium is one of the favorites, and they might be very inspired with the recent success. This is one of the few games, where the group winner is the underdog.

hungary-belgium

An interesting question to think on!

Belgium and Hungary have made equal number of shots on target (17), have the same ball possession (53%) and Passing accuracy (around 85%) rates. Do these measures prove their complete power parity, or are these just numbers?

One of these teams will reach the final! Do you already know which one?

Inga Volkers