EURO 2024: Predicting the Quarterfinals

EURO 2024 returns for its quarter-final fixtures on Friday, with each country facing their respective opponents in a single-tie fixture. Unarguably, the 17th edition of the European Championship has been nothing short of exciting, from upsets to records being broken.

The round of 16 fixtures saw some heavyweights and favourites bow out of the competition, and we should expect the same in the quarterfinals.

Switzerland produced a shocking victory as they eliminated the holders, Italy, with a 2-0 victory. Belgium was ousted by France, and we also witnessed a star-studded England side struggle to get past minnows, Slovakia.

With the competition now in one of its hottest stages, let’s take a look at each country and make a prognostication of who is likely to make it through to the semis.

Spain vs Germany

The Spain vs. Germany fixture is arguably the most anticipated and standout match of this round, as two of the most successful nations in the history of the UEFA European Championships collide in the quarterfinals. This is the first time that both sides will face each other in the knockout stages of a major competition since the semifinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Spain has enjoyed their recent history with Germany, not only winning that semifinal 1-0, also demolishing them 6-0 on the final matchday of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League to qualify for the finals at the Germans’ expense. Repeating that recent history could, however, be difficult for La Roja, as they will come up against a rejuvenated German side that is also the host of the ongoing competition.

Both teams have a plethora of quality in their ranks. But Spain has been the best team so far in the EURO 2024, as they are the only team to win all their group stage games and also get through those first three fixtures without conceding a single goal.

Germany, on the other hand, is a cohesive unit as they attack and defend as a team. They are well balanced as a team and have a wall in Antonio Rüdiger, who is arguably the best defender in the tournament so far. However, coming up against a Spanish team that possesses lethal forwards in their ranks could be an insurmountable task.

No team in this competition will love to be paired with Spain at the moment, as they have quality and nous in all areas. Their 4-1 victory against Georgia in the Round of 16 showed their attacking prowess, and Julian Nagelsmann and his men will be wary of their attacking threat.

Their wingers, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams, both look unstoppable at the moment, and they also have the intelligence of Rodri and Pedri in midfield, which makes them the top dogs in this encounter.

However, the one problem about this Spain side is that they tend to leave themselves a bit short at the back, which could haunt them as Germany possesses an in-form Jamal Musiala that can capitalize on defenders’ errors and navigate through tight spaces.

While Germany has the home advantage, Spain’s ruthlessness in front of goal gives them the edge here, so expect them to narrowly pip Julian Nagelsmann’s men in what should be a very heated match.

Portugal vs France

This is another crunch tie that football fans will anticipate watching as two sides who have flattered to deceive so far in EURO 2024 fight for a place in the semis.

The last match between Portugal and France ended in a 2-2 draw at the previous UEFA European Championships, with three of the goals being penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo scored both spot-kicks for Seleção das Quinas that day.

While the Portuguese skipper saw his penalty saved on Monday in extra time against Slovenia, he quickly redeemed himself by netting in the shootout to help secure progression to the last eight.

Although France’s performances at Euro 2024 have been far from convincing, they have the required experience to progress and make it all the way to the final, having done so at EURO 2016, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Portugal, on the other hand, has an in-depth squad with an x-factor in Cristiano Ronaldo. On the flip side, the presence of Ronaldo in their ranks has done them more harm than good, as he was so desperate to score in their round of 16 match against Slovenia, taking several free-kicks, but scoring none laid bare his decline.

Apart from this, France has a stronger defence than Portugal. The Portuguese may struggle to cope with France’s attacking threat as their attacking units are more accomplished than those of Slovenia. If Pepe repeats his blunder from the last game, he should not expect let-off from any of France’s ravenous forwards.

As for our prediction, the winner of the game will be the team that can control the tempo of the game and dictate proceedings. With that in mind, France has a slight edge due to the fact that they have a younger and fresher team. They have the energy levels. Two of the most important players in Portugal’s starting XI are now in the twilight years of their careers: Ronaldo (39), Pepe (41).

England vs Switzerland

After struggling to impress in their group at UEFA Euro 2024, many expected a positive reaction from England in the round of 16, but instead they only just squeezed past Slovakia 2-1 in the last 16. Jude Bellingham’s 95th-minute overhead kick spared manager Gareth Southgate’s blushes before Harry Kane struck a minute into extra time to complete the comeback.

However, they face the uphill task of eliminating a rampant Switzerland side that knocked out holders Italy in the round of 16. Surprisingly, England has remarkably lost only once in their last 24 meetings to Switzerland (W18, D5), but they will have to be at their best to progress in this latest matchup.

Murat Yakin’s men are arguably dark horses in this tournament, thus the Three Lions will, of course, be wary of them. While Southgate’s men have not been at their best in this competition, they should not be written off as they have players like Bellingham, Kane, Declan Rice, and the like who could turn games on their heads.

While Switzerland is in much better form, the individual brilliance in the English ranks should be the difference that sways the tie in their favour.

Netherlands vs. Turkey

After unconvincingly reaching the round of 16 as the highest-ranked third-placed side at UEFA Euro 2024, the Netherlands showed why they might still lift the trophy on July 14 after walloping a Romania side that punched above its weight to reach the knockout stages. Manager Ronald Koeman was keen to stress that “the whole performance was outstanding,” according to the Daily Mail after the match.

Turkey has really been outstanding in this ongoing tournament and will be keen to reach their first European Championship semis since 2008. Arda Güler has really been brilliant for Turkey in this competition, and he will be keen to steal the show when they meet against the Dutch Eleven.

Koeman’s side will, of course, go into this contest as top dogs, given that they have more quality in their team. Cody Gakpo has been the main man of Dutch national football team so far.

He is currently the joint leading goal scorer (3) in EURO 2024 alongside Georges Mikautadze, Ivan Schranz, and Jamal Musiala. Apart from that, he stole the show against Romania with a goal and an assist in their 3-0 victory.

Vincenzo Montella’s men are also lethal in attack but are susceptible defensively, as they are the only country still at EURO 2024 to have both conceded in their first four games and to have seen all those matches feature at least three goals.

Of course, Turkey will try to put up a fight against Netherlands but we expect De Oranje to progress without any hiccups as they are the better team on paper.

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