Sunday, June 26, 2016

Euro 2016 - England's great opportunity

England were the ones with the big smiles when Iceland secured qualification in the dying stages of their match against Austria. That leaves them with a great chance to reach the next round because it's hard to see Iceland troubling the English at any level. Sure they have had a compact defence during the group stages and certainly exceeded all expectations. But the buck stops here. Ball possession will be outrageously in favor of the Lions and there are so many ways that they will be able to break down the opposition; Sturridge, Kane, Rooney and possibly Sterling will find ways to open up Iceland's defence. It might take a while but the floodgates are bound to open. I believe this is going to be a firm English win that will enable Hodgson to try various things as he continues his search for his best team in view of the next round match.

Spain and Italy are bound to play a close match and I will give the Spaniards the edge here because they are simply the better team and have the greater chance of making the breakthrough. They can score anytime with a moment of magic from Iniesta, Silva or Fabregas; that is why they are so tough to beat. Mind you, Italy will relish this clash as they like being the underdog types and coach Conte is a master at prevailing at these kinds of encounters; just ask Belgium. I think this is going to end beyond the normal 90 minutes and if it goes to penalties, it really is the luck of the lottery as which team will go through. I see Spain winning by the minimum score if the match is decided before penalties.

To qualify: England, Spain

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