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The round of 16 of the European Championship ended on the most surprising note with Iceland handing England an exit. However, If more surprises await in the quarterfinals can’t be guessed, but it sure promises to be more exciting as the finals approach. Poland overcame Switzerland via penalties, Wales got lucky with an own goal from Northern Ireland, Germany made light of Slovakia and so did Belgium do Hungary. The boys are getting separated from the men, and the 4 games could go down like this.

JUNE 30

POLAND VS PORTUGAL

Both teams only had luck on their sides in securing qualifications to this stage, but that’s what you need at times in football. On paper, Portugal should win this, but given how they have failed to click, it might just be the end of the road for them. Poland too haven’t been very excellent, and it remains unseen if Lewandowski will turn up to the party at all. Definitely they’ve got other threats, and the match looks like one with both sides having a 50 – 50 chance. We could be seeing a penalty kick out decide this one at the end of the day. Hard to predict.

Prediction: Portugal to win

JULY 1

WALES VS BELGIUM

Belgium tore Hungary apart, but that might not be happening against the disciplined Welsh side. It could even turn out to be the most exciting fixture given the handful of individual talents both sides parade. Wales weren’t exactly convincing against Northern Ireland, and they won’t find it easy against Belgium. Bale as usual might be the one to determine if they win or lose this one. The Belgium defence has got a lot of work to do against the Real Madrid forward, but so does Wales’ against Hazard, De Bruyne and Co.

Prediction: Belgium to win

JULY 2

GERMANY VS ITALY

Another encounter that could easily have been a final. The Germans will set out to revenge their semifinals exit at the last Euros and Italy will hope to keep proving critics wrong. The pendulum can swing either way as far as who comes out top go. Another tough call, but Germany’s superiority in midfield and attack should see them emerge victorious.

Prediction: Germany to win

JULY 3

FRANCE VS ICELAND

Iceland are beginning to win everyone’s hearts with their story, and after that England defeat, France will have to be very careful. As usual, Iceland will defend to death and hope to make use of counters and set pieces (that now include long throw-ins). France still have the advantage of being host, and besides, they have a great team. If they fail to get that early goal and take the lead by half-time with more than a goal, an upset might just be around the corner by second half. A single goal will likely decide the encounter if the scores remain goalless after 45 minutes. If Iceland win, then not even Italy or Germany will be able to stop them. The Icelanders are the new underdogs in town. But nothing really stops France from winning this comfortably. It’s reality versus fantasy.

Prediction: France to win

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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