The round of 16 is finally here. After more than two weeks of group stage games, some of the most anticipated games of the tournament will happen.
Contenders will play other contenders as the field whittles itself down the closer it gets to the finals.

Since the last EUROs, there has been a change in format as to add the round of 16; the four best performing third-place teams will also be included.

The four teams that qualified in third place are Croatia, Portugal, Switzerland, and Ukraine. They will be joining the rest of the teams that finished first and second in their groups in the round of sixteen.

Wales vs Denmark

Denmark and Wales would open up play for the round of 16 as the two teams who finished in second place in their respective groups faced off against one another. Wales surprised many by finishing second in a group that they were tipped to finish last, losing only to group winners in Italy. Denmark had to deal with a horrifying incident but could grow back in the tournament, finishing second.

The first half started better for Denmark as they seemed more willing to attack as Wales sat back and tried to hit on the counter. Kasper Dolberg would open things up for Denmark, curling the ball from outside the box in a beautiful move. For the rest of the first half, Denmark would get closer and closer to a second goal with Dolberg more and more active.

Within the first few minutes of the second half, Dolberg would get his second to capitalize on a missed clearance by the Welsh defense. Before the ninetieth minute, Denmark would get their third with Joakim Mæhle dribbling past the Welsh defense to beautifully place the goal beyond the keeper. Harry Wilson of Wales would get sent off for a frustration-tackle leaving Martin Braithwaite open to score the fourth, giving Denmark the win.

Italy vs Austria

Group A winners Italy were to take on group B runner-ups Austria with both teams feeling that they had the chance to win. Italy came into the game as one of the best performings of the tournament and saw this game as a way to further cement themselves amongst the contenders. Austria has had a mixed tournament so far, but they were still able to finish second.

Italy had the better chances as the game started, grabbing control of the game as the Austrians looked to figure out the Italian defense. Austria would have some good chances as the half went on but could not grab control. Ciro Immobile for Italy would get the closest to scoring with his shot only being stopped by the post.

The second half would be different as Austria would wrangle control of the game from the Italians, getting better quality chances. Marko Arnautović seemingly broke the deadlock as he headed in a cross, only for it to be called back due to him being offsides. The half would end 0-0 as neither team could break the other down, sending the game to extra time.

Within the first five minutes of extra time, Federico Chiesa would step up to give Italy the lead as he beautifully controlled a cross in the box and volleyed the ball past the keeper. Ten minutes later, Chiesa would set up Matteo Pessina’s goal as Pessina continued his remarkable tournament. Austria would pull one back a little too late with Sasa Kalajdzic headed in a corner, but Italy would go through.

Netherlands vs Czech Republic

Contenders the Netherlands took on one of the more interesting teams in the Czech Republic as they continued their surprise run. Coming into the game, the Netherlands’ attack looked unstoppable as Memphis Depay has been proving why Barcelona signed him this summer. The Czech Republic finished second in their group despite being one of the teams favored not to reach the knockouts, thanks in part to striker Patrik Schick. 

From the start, the Dutch would be looking for the goal as they felt in total control of the game while the Czech Republic was trying to find a way out of the press. Towards the end of the half, the Czech Republic began to grow more and more into the game, with Schick becoming more active. Neither team would break the deadlock at the half.

Within ten minutes of the second half, Matthijs De Ligt would get sent off as he bizarrely handled the ball to keep it away from a Czech attacker. With the Netherlands being down a man, the Czech Republic would finally find their goal from Tomáš Holeš after heading in a wayward header off a set piece. The Czech Republic would add one more through Schick, giving them a 2-0 surprise win as they continue their cinderella run.  

Belgium vs Portugal

Superstars littered the field from Cristiano Ronaldo to Eden Hazard as Belgium would take on Portugal, with one contender being eliminated from contention. Belgium’s squad is becoming fitter and fitter as the tournament goes on. Portugal has had a rocky tournament, at times looking like one of the most complete teams and, at other times, a disjointed team.

Belgium would control the game early on as they looked for the early goal that would allow them to kill the game early. Portugal would get some good chances as the Belgians began to sit back, but those chances lacked any real quality. Finally, after a good spell of possession, Thorgan Hazard would unleash a thundering and dipping shot from way outside the box to give Belgium the lead.

The second half would be more of Belgium, content with their lead, sitting back and allowing Portugal to attack. Again, Portugal would have some decent chances, but it seemed that they were all lacking that clinical touch. While Belgium would win the game, it would come at the cost of two of their best players as both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard would be subbed out due to injury.

Croatia vs Spain

Croatia and Spain would kick things off for a matchday, including France taking on Switzerland as both teams liked their chances of winning. Croatia has started to have things clicking as they seemed to have figured out how to replace the heroes of that 2018 World Cup. Spain also has looked better as the tournament has continued with their forwards finally starting to score.

Spain started the game the more attack-minded of the two sides, but that didn’t stop Croatia from getting some good chances. In the twentieth minute, the deadlock would be broken when Pedri would play a dangerous pass back to Unai Simón, who would fail to control the ball yielding an own goal. Spain would hit back towards the end of the first half as Pablo Sarabia would clean up a saved shot to tie the game for Spain.

The second half opened much like the first, with Spain asserting dominance as they looked for the killer goal. They would find two goals through César Azpilicueta and Ferran Torress, giving Spain the commanding 3-1 lead. However, the Croatians weren’t out yet as Mislav Oršić and Mario Pašalić would score in the last minutes of the match to end this great game 3-3.

As the score was tied, extra time awaited both teams as this instant classic was to have even more excitement. Álvaro Morata would give Spain the lead yet again as he would control a ball beautifully and volley it almost through the roof. Despite some good chances for Croatia, Spain would add one more through Mikel Oyarzabal as Spain booked their place in the quarters.

France vs Switzerland

Following seemingly the match of the tournament, France would play Switzerland in another game that would promise to be full of excitement. France, one of the best teams on paper, has looked unconvincing for most of the tournament as they failed to showcase their strength. While Switzerland, who finished third in their group, has had a tumultuous tournament where they have both looked awful and great.

Although France would control most of the opening stages, Switzerland would score first as Haris Seferović would overpower French defender Clément Lenglet to put his header past Hugo Lloris. France would get some good chances but would fail to produce any shots that failed to trouble the Swiss keeper.

France would come out the half changed, as Karim Benzema would score two incredible goals, with the first goal resulting from one of the best first touches seen in years. Paul Pogba would add a screamer to bring the score up to 3-1. Seemingly out of nowhere, Seferović would score one goal, and Mario Gavranović would add one more to tie the game in the dying minutes.

Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/Getty Images

Another instant classic was born from this game, as 30 more minutes would be added as both teams felt that the game was still very much up for grabs. While both teams started out strong, the players clearly were running on fumes as the closer it got to full time, the more the players were slowing down, and the attacks stopped.

As the game ended 3-3, penalties awaited both the viewers and the teams, with this being the first match of this edition of the EUROs to go to penalties. For the first four penalties, both teams would score all their penalties, with both keepers coming close to saving some of them. After Admir Mehmedi put away Switzerland’s fifth penalty, Kylian Mbappé stepped up to take the penalty only for Yann Sommer to save his penalty sending the Swiss to the next round.

England vs Germany

Two historic rivals would play out a high octane match in London as both teams felt good about their chances at winning the whole tournament. England topped their group despite not playing the best soccer, although Raheem Sterling has been one of the best performers at the tournament. Germany started out badly but has slowly grown into the tournament.

The first half kicked off with Germany getting a commanding handle of the game as they pressured the English midfield and defense into mistakes. England would claw back but wouldn’t produce any chances of real quality. Although Germany had been the better of the two teams, the game would be tied at the half, with the win still very much up for grabs.

Both sides came out of the half, going all out, with the first five minutes yielding great shots for both teams. England would finally break the deadlock with Raheem Sterling tapping in an incredible low-driven cross by Luke Shaw. After Thomas Müller would miss a one-on-one, England would hit on the counter, with Harry Kane scoring to send England through.

Sweden vs Ukraine

The final match of the round of sixteen would take place between Sweden and Ukraine as the winner would face England in the next round. Sweden had a good group stage, with a draw against Spain being one of the highlights. While Ukraine made it through to the round of sixteen by being one of the best third-place teams, as manager and icon Andriy Shevchenko looks to right the ship against Sweden.

Both sides started the game on the strong foot as they were both willing to try to get the lead from the start. Within 30 minutes, Ukraine would get the lead after Andriy Yarmolenko played a beautiful outside the boot pass to set up Oleksandr Zinchenko’s incredible volley. Right before the half, Emil Forsberg would tie the game as his outside-the-box shot would ricochet off a Ukrainian defender. 

The second half would be more controlled by Sweden as they began to pour shot after shot following the start of the second half. Emil Forsberg was the best player on the field as he was seemingly unable to be stopped with his shotmaking. Neither team would score, and the game would be sent into extra time.

Extra time started with Sweden grabbing control of the game as Ukraine was seemingly unable to keep up with them. However, the game would all change when Marcus Danielson would get a red card for a dangerous high tackle on Artem Besyedin. From there, Ukraine would easily control the game culminating in Artem Dovbyk heading in the winner from a Zinchenko cross to set up a match between Ukraine and England.

Featured Image: Daniel Mihailescu/Getty Images
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