Sunday at Euro 2016 brought with it more last 16 clashes. We have collated some of the best of our content from the last 24 hours in one place as the business end of the European Championship continued. All the latests news, plus group guides, kick-off times and news from around the teams can be found at our special microsite.
1 — France get the job done. Just.
Tournament hosts, pre-tournament favourites and packed with stars – yet France were given an almighty scare by the Republic of Ireland in their last-16 clash in Lyon. Trailing 1-0 after Robbie Brady’s second-minute penalty, France went into half-time facing the real possibility of an early and embarrassing exit.
However, a substitution at the interval that saw Kingsley Coman come on for N’Golo Kante, and a tactical shift, resulted in France dominating the second period as two goals from striker Antoine Griezmann, who could have had a third had he not been fouled when clean through by Shane Duffy, ensured the hosts passage into the quarter-finals.
As Richard Jolly explains in his analysis, Deschamps' decisions saved France's blushes and he will need to be tactically savvy once again as they move on to sterner challenges.
2 — A German juggernaut
France may have toiled in the evening’s first match, but it was a far easier day’s work for world champions Germany in their last 16 tie with Slovakia. Jerome Boateng’s classy opener set the tone before Mario Gomez and Julian Draxler ensured the rout for Germany at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.
There were doubts surrounding Germany’s credentials as title challengers in France, given their patchy form since winning the World Cup in Brazil two years ago.
But as Ian Hawkey wrote in his analysis, Germany show they are still juggernauts.
3 — Hazard’s warning
After a miserable club season for Chelsea and a disappointing first match in Belgium’s defeat to Italy, Eden Hazard has slowly warmed into Euro 2016. On Sunday night, he caught fire to inspire Belgium to a 4-0 rout of Hungary to set up a quarter-final tie with Wales.
Belgium were considered among the pre-tournament favourites given their strength in depth, but it was always felt that to win the tournament, they would need an on-form Hazard pulling the strings. That is exactly what they got against Hungary, and if he remains in this form, he can lead his nation all the way to the final.
As Thomas Woods wrote in his talking points following the match, Hazard is of Cristiano Ronaldo-level of importance to Belgium.
4 — England, knockout failures
Sunday night saw wins for France, Belgium, and Germany over supposed inferior opponents, and on Monday night it will be England’s chance to attempt the same and take their place in the last eight. Ireland, Hungary, and Slovakia may not be considered elite sides, but Iceland — England’s opponents in Nice — in comparison make them appear giants, at least in terms of football history and national population.
England enter the match heavy favourites despite Iceland’s impressive showing in France so far.
Richard Jolly previews the match and explains how England, knockout failures, face ignominy if they fail to negotiate way past Iceland at Euro 2016.
France’s slow starts might eventually come back to bite them, but for now they’re safe. Meanwhile, Germany were clinical in their win over Slovakia, and look every bit the part of world champions. Belgium were impressive as well, looking like potential title favourites.
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