Euro 2016’s knockout phase provided drama from the off as the opening game between Poland and Switzerland went all the way to penalties before two equally intriguing battles later in the day. And Sunday’s schedule looks set to take the drama to an even greater level.
Once again, there will be three mouth-watering contests on offer and we can look forward to seeing both the hosts and the current world champions in action. With a little luck, we’ll be landing some decent profit too.
Sunday’s Matches: France v Republic of Ireland (2PM, ITV); Germany v Slovakia (5PM, ITV); Hungary v Belgium (8PM, BBC One)
Martin O’Neill’s men secured their place in the round of 16 in the most dramatic of circumstances on Wednesday night but have no time for standing still and know that they’ll be in for an intense battle as they take on the hosts France in Lyon.
This is a fantastic opportunity to exact their revenge after the infamous Thierry Henry handball that cost Ireland their place at World Cup 2010. Nevertheless, it’s Les Bleus that will have all the weight of expectation on their shoulders.
Sunday’s five o’clock game sees World Cup winners Germany take on Slovakia. The group B side will need to play far better than they did against both England and Wales if they want to shock the Germans. However, Joachim Low’s side have shown chinks in their armour, and could be the victims of an early upset.
The night’s final game will be eagerly watched by Welsh fans as they’ll find out their quarter-final opponents. Belgium are one of the sides expected to go far, particularly given the way the draw has unfolded. On the other hand, Hungary have been the surprise package of the tournament. We could be in for a classic.
Toe Punter v The Bookies
We hardly need motivation to watch Sunday’s matches, but we’ll be placing a few selections to give us even greater enjoyment while sat on the sofa with a beer or two.
Starting with the Ireland game, we’d love to see the Boys in Green cause an upset, but France look far too strong in the midfield area. Should France score early, it could potentially open the floodgates.
Even if it doesn’t, Ireland would need to chase late on, and that could lead to a second.
Bet: France to score over 1.5 goals @ 10/11 with Betfred (£10 stake)
Germany hardly sparkled in the group phase, but they were typically efficient and can be expected to hit top gear now that they’re in the knockouts.
Slovakia won’t have much of an impact on proceedings, and Germany could easily score three or four. Thomas Muller will be one man desperate to make an impression. We’re backing him to do it in style.
Bet: Thomas Muller to score a brace @ 10/1 with SkyBet (£5 stake)
In the final contest, quite literally anything could happen. But if Marc Wilmots lines the team out properly, the Belgians should have enough quality to overcome Gabor Kiraly and co.
Hungary will hope to frustrate the Belgians for as long as possible, but the favourites can get the breakthrough before half-time. If they do, they should coast to the last eight clash with Wales.
Bet: HT/FT: Belgium/Belgium @ 7/4 with Coral (£10 stake)