Saturday, June 25, 2016

Euro 2016 - Strolls for Germany and Belgium

France host a tricky encounter against the plucky Irish in the round of last 16. On talent, there is no comparison as the French have the best names on paper. But it seems certain they will be made to struggle to get a positive result; O'Neil's men are buoyed by a qualification that rested on beating Italy in the dying stages of their last match and they indeed have nothing to lose going in this match which they are not expected to win. This match is reminiscent of their last major encounter where Thierry Henry's cheat of a handball gave the French the edge in a notorious World Cup playoff. Be it at the end of 90 minutes, extra time or penalties, I see the French outlasting the Irish but it won't be a stroll for the hosts.

I expect both Germany and Belgium to have easier matches against the likes of Slovakia and Hungary. It's true the Slovaks shocked the Germans in one of their last friendly matches but the chances of this happening in a knockout stage are very remote. The Belgians have been granted the Hungarians whose best chance is to make the match go to penalties; I think Belgium should have made the difference by then; they are a team that seems to be getting better as the matches go by and have a lot of match winners in them.

To qualify: France, Germany, Belgium

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