The knockout rounds for Euro 2016 are approaching and after England could only manage a drab 0-0 draw with Slovakia, which allowed Wales to top the group, Roy Hodgson’s men have been left on the wrong side of the draw for when the serious stuff begins. After Spain’s shock defeat to Croatia, we will now see Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England all on the same side of the draw – meaning only one of those big names will make the final. Should everything go to plan, England will face France, in Paris, in the quarter-final, which is a mouth-watering prospect.
Whilst the draw may seem lopsided, it has created a great chance for the likes of Portugal, Belgium and Croatia who will now see winning the tournament as a very realistic possibility. Even Wales, armed with superstar Gareth Bale will now be harbouring hopes of causing what would the biggest shock in international football since Greece won Euro 2004. With the games coming thick and fast, you may need to look at Bedstar who have a range of great TV Beds that will allow you to watch the games from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, they have given you the perfect excuse to pull a sickie should your work clash with any of the games, we know the football has to take priority!
Sticking with the British teams, Northern Ireland managed to secure a passage to the knockout rounds despite a 1-0 defeat to world champions Germany. The Green and White Army knew that defeat by less than four goals would all but seal their place in the last 16, and they were indebted to goalkeeper Michael McGovern who produced the outstanding goalkeeping display of the tournament, thwarting the likes of Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller among others with some truly magnificent saves. Next up for the Ulstermen is the prospect of hosts France or a battle of Britain clash with Wales, all will be decided.
As mentioned, Thomas Muller was denied by McGovern and the woodwork during Germany’s win, and it extended a barren run for him at the Euro’s – and several other big name players. Cristiano Ronaldo somehow failed to score against Austria which included a missed penalty, joining Muller as scoreless in the first two group games. Similarly, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane are all forwards who arrived with huge expectations and haven’t found the net regularly for their country this tournament.
However, all that will be forgotten if the big names turn up when the competition hots up, that is when the big names usually make the difference and it is highly possible they will turn up when their country needs them. For England, the last 16 draw looks favourable, but after they failed to top a relatively poor group, they have once again left themselves with the hardest possible task if they are to end fifty years of hurt.