29 JUNE 2021 | Angelo Ziovas
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Germany v England
In one of the biggest games in the last 16 Germany will take on England in another massive clash. Both nations have slightly underwhelmed so far, but with such a big match and a place in the quarter finals on the line, they will both be up for it.
England have had a slow start to their Euros journey, and while winning 2 out of 3 of their group games, it has only been by the one goal, the wins against Croatia and Czech Republic, both 1-0 wins and not comfortable by any stretch, in between those games was a goalless draw vs Scotland, who pushed the English and tested them in the match. They may have trouble scoring but they have been solid in defence, conceding no goals so far, being the only team other than Italy not to concede.
The English squad has great players in there, Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham will be crucial through the center of the pitch while wide players like Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling will be the wide players on offer and will use their pace to get in behind the German defence, while Harry Kane will be looking to get on the score sheet. John Stones will be a central figure in defence.
Germany has had a rough group stage progression with first losing to France 1-0 in a less than stellar performance, then rebounding with a great result against Portugal ending 4-2. They then came from behind twice to gather a 2-2 draw against Hungary. The Germans have not been at their best and it shows, while they were great against Portugal, their performances against France and Hungary were not of the quality we have come to expect from German teams. All three games have shown that the German defence has been quite leaky in the group stage, conceding 5 goals. Against Portugal they were vulnerable on the counter attack, and the same against Hungary, who performed brilliantly against the Germans. Out of the teams that qualified for the knockout stages, other than Portugal who conceded 6 goals, they are tied with Ukraine and Switzerland with conceding 5 goals in the group stages.
The Germans have the quality on the pitch to win the whole tournament with attacking options like Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller and Timo Werner. Midfield options such as Kai Havertz, Leon Goretzka and Ilkay Gündogan who can pull the strings on the ball. With the experienced Mats Hummels at the back with options like Niklas Süle and Antonio Rüdiger, they need to be prepared for the pace of the English attack if want to stop them from scoring.
The last time these two nations met in major tournament was all the way back in the world cup in 2010, that encounter ended 4-1 to Germany. Germany also apart from the 2018 world cup have been in at least the semi final stage of a major tournament since the 2006 world cup, and Germany will want to once again make the latter stages and will make it hard for England. If the game goes all the way to penalties, History will be on the Germans side as they have only lost one shoot out in 7, and England have lost 6 out of 9 and lost both their penalty shoot outs against Germany. The winner faces Sweden or Ukraine in the quarter final.
England: Pickford - Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw - Phillips, Rice - Foden, Mount, Sterling - Kane (c) Out: - Doubtful: -
Germany: Neuer (c) - Ginter, Hummels, Rüdiger - Kimmich, Goretzka, Kroos, Gosens - Havertz, Müller, Gnabry Out: - Doubtful: Klostermann (hamstring)
Sweden v Ukraine
The last of the round of 16 games has Sweden take on Ukraine. Sweden like their world cup form in 2018 have been impressive so far in the group stage, topping their group and looking good in all three games. Ukraine have been rather disappointing after their impressive qualifying campaign to get into the euros.
Sweden have looked very impressive once again in a major tournament and is looking to build on their success in the group stage to reach the quarter final. Topping the group they started with a credible goalless draw against a quality Spain side, then beat out Slovakia 1-0 and followed that up with a 3-2 win over Poland, and while they have looked impressive, they have also faltered a little bit. After being 2-0 up against Poland they did falter a little bit, conceding 2 goals before managing a 94th minute winner to get the victory. Against Slovakia they may have gotten the win but were not all that good in the first half of that game. While they have been impressive, at times they have been poor.
Emil Forsberg has been at the core of this Swedish team and will be key for them as they go into this game, he scored the penalty to win the game against Slovakia and grabbed a brace in the game against Poland. Alexander Isak and Victor Lindelof will also be crucial at both ends of the field for Sweden. Dejan Kulusevski is a player that the Swedes have only utilised once so far and in that one time he provided both an assist and a goal. They would be smart to utilise him again in this game.
Ukraine have only won 1 of their 3 group games and ended up as one of the best third placed teams to gain entry into the knockout stages. Something that could give them some invigoration however is that even though they may have lost against the Netherlands 3-2, but their performance in the game to level the scores after they went two down was exceptionally good, as were the goals. They then took victory against North Macedonia 2-1 before being defeated by Austria in matchday 3.
Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Olexandr Zinchenko will be difference makers for Ukraine in their bid to reach the quarter finals. Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk have both been involved in Ukraine’s goals in the group stage. While Zinchenko will look to make a difference by pulling the strings in the midfield.
This game has the ingredients for an interesting matchup, both teams will look at this as one of the easier games they could have gotten in the round of 16 and both teams will be eager to show what they can do and make it to the quarter finals. Ukraine have only ever won two in the European Championships as Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) and is their first appearance in a knockout game in the Euros. This is the first time since 2004 that Sweden have made the knockout stages and a major European tournament. Germany or England will be opponents for whoever wins here.
Sweden - Olsen; Lustig, Lindelof, Danielson, Augustinsson; Larsson, Ekdal, Olsson, Forsberg; Isak, Kulusevski
Out: - Doubtful: -
Ukraine - Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Stepanenko, Shaparenko, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Malinovskiy
Out: - Doubtful: -