Friday 5th July


Spain v Germany (5pm)

The Spanish went behind before going on to smash a brave Georgia side 4-1 in the last-16. Luis De La Fuente’s side are playing higher up the pitch then some thought they would and have been electric in the final third with wide men Nico Williams and teenager Lamine Yamal causing the opposition all types of problems. The Germans were never comfortable despite Denmark not scoring in their last-16 affair as it ended 2-0. Joachim Andersen had a goal disallowed for a tight offside and he was then to concede a contentious penalty for a harsh handball. Some of the ‘top’ nations have disappointed when they have locked horns, but this should really be a thriller to open the last-eight proceedings. I expect there to be a truckload of chances with the Spaniards toppling the host nation within 90 minutes. I cannot see Julian Nagelsmann’s men withstanding all the attacks that they will face; Germany will need to be strong centrally against Rodri and Fabian Ruiz if they are to have a chance of advancing. Spain do leave some space in behind and if Germany are clinical, you just never know, but I am still going with the Spanish.


Portugal v France (8pm)

Portugal needed penalties to dispatch of Slovenia and did not really impress at any stage of the 120 minutes that preceded the shootout. As Roberto Martinez’s men had that much trouble against a well-organised Slovenia, then with the French priding themselves on their organisation this tie could be substantially awkward for them unless they adjust. Benjamin Sesko had enough chances to put the Portuguese out last round, and with Kylian Mbappe due to explode, the writing could be on the wall for Portugal as the French threat is always there. Ironically Didier Deschamps’ men have still not scored a goal from open play although they have created more than enough chances to do so. Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to score, however even if he was to, I feel France will be better equipped than their opponents to bounce back. N’Golo Kante has been France’s most impressive player so far, but Joao Palhinha can be as effective for Portugal breaking up play as the midfield will be integral to deciding who wins here. I am going to go with a France victory over Portugal after extra-time with Antoine Griezmann being a standout performer.


Saturday 6th July


England v Switzerland (5pm)

England somehow escaped in extra-time against Slovakia despite another underwhelming performance. An individual moment got them to extra-time and that is what they will be relying on again unless they can play higher up the pitch and unsettle the opposition. With their best defender in the tournament thus far Marc Guehi suspended, there are early rumours of Gareth Southgate changing to a back three. This would mean Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka at wing-backs in an attempt to match up with the Swiss who play a back three also. With England not using three at the back for a while, it may just be too late. Nonetheless at least Southgate would be trying something as it is evident England need to switch things up, if they do not then make sure to catch up on some sleep. Switzerland could not get past Scotland in the group stage, but they responded with a good performance against Germany, before knocking Italy out in the last-16. Italy were poor, regardless of this you can only beat what is in front of you and the Swiss were comprehensive. I believe England may still struggle to create even with a formation change and I’m going with Murat Yakin’s men to win and in normal time too. This is as long as Granit Xhaka is fit as there is slight concern with a muscle injury. Michel Aebischer is another man England will have to watch.


Netherlands v Turkey (8pm)

I did not have the Netherlands getting this far, credit to them nevertheless as they raised their game to deal with Romania after a tricky start to the match. Cody Gakpo is in the fight for the golden boot and looks dangerous anytime he gets on the ball. Jerdy Schouten and Tijani Reijnders, who would not be starting if Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners had been fit for the tournament have impressed in midfield.  Turkey survived a late barrage from Austria to advance and welcome back Hakan Calhanoglu and Samet Akaydin who were suspended. The threat that Netherlands pose on the break, up against the sheer effort and determination Turkey bring mean I can see this tie going beyond 90 minutes. Virgil van Dijk has not been at his best, although if he can perform then that will be vital for the latter stages of this encounter. I feel one of the young bucks (Xavi Simons or Arda Guler) will go a long way to leading their team to victory. This is a tight one, I am conflicted, however I will go with Ronald Koeman’s men to get through after extra-time, I would not be surprised if it even went to penalties, either way Netherlands to get through.


Daniel Dwamena