Euro 2016 is fast approaching its final stages, and the quarter-final resume over the weekend with two equally mouth-watering fixtures.
Over the course of two nights, we’ll get to see the hosts, world champions, and two surprise packages in action. While England fans will be a little gutted that the Three Lions aren’t in Saint Denis on Sunday, there’s still plenty to look forward to. And hopefully we’ll be counting some winnings too.
Matches: Germany v Italy (Saturday. 8PM. BBC One); France v Iceland (Sunday. 8PM. ITV)
If the round of 16 match against Spain was tough, the quarter-final against Germany will be gruelling. Nevertheless, Antonio Conte’s can head into this last eight encounter with supreme confidence because the supposedly worst Azzurri side in years is playing some truly incredible football.
On paper, Italy aren’t at their best. But this team have shown all the credentials needed to thrive, beating Belgium with comfort too. On the other hand, they could have met their match in the current world champions. Joachim Low’s men haven’t been faultless, but are as efficient as ever. If both teams bring their A games, it could be the game of the tournament.
Attentions turn to the Stade de France on Sunday night as host nation France take on, the darlings of Euro 2016, Iceland. Both teams will be dreaming of a return to Saint Denis just one week later, but the expectations will be firmly on Les Bleus.
Iceland will face an uphill battle in trying to keep the likes of Dimitri Payer and Antoine Griezmann quiet, but the underdogs have responded well to every test so far. Can their magical journey continue? Either way, it should be a fascinating contest.
Toe Punter v The Bookies
The Germany v Italy showdown could be an absolute cracker, particularly given their contrasting styles and philosophies. And it’s particularly difficult to pick a winner.
Germany have never beaten their rivals in tournament football, but will be expected to step it up a notch. At the same time, Italy won’t have any fear. Goals win matches, but goalkeepers win tournaments. With both teams likely to create chances, both world-class No.1s could have a fantastic chance to thrive.
Do not be surprised if one of them is the hero.
Bet: Any goalkeeper to be named Man of the Match @ 8/1 with BetVictor (£5 stake)
Iceland have been brilliant. In spite of their defensive emphasis, they’ve scored in every game so far. Nevertheless, even the Lions led by a donkey registered seven corners while Austria (7) and Portugal (11) have shown that Iceland are more than happy to concede corners.
Given France’s attacking arsenal, and need to finally put in a good performance from start to finish, we think the hosts can rack up the corners. We think they’ll win too, but the smart money is, in out opinion, on over 7.5 French corners.
Bet: France to win over 7.5 corners @ Evens (£10 stake)