Only two places left in the quarter finals – three huge names in world football and one emerging nation – BRING IT ON
Italy v Spain – Stade-de-France / Saint-Denis
When Ivan Perišic’s late goal against Spain went in I’m sure Italy manager Antonio Conte, who had already coached his team to the top of Group E, would have had his head in his hands, because it now means we are in for a blockbuster at the Stade de France tonight. A repeat of the final of 2012 where the Italians were embarrassed by a rampant Spanish team that swarmed all over them, the 4-0 scoreline was just reward for the holders that day. One worry for Italy is that their performances have regressed each game they played. To be fair in their defeat to the Republic of Ireland there was a much changed team, they looked like a side already preparing for their opponents tonight. Italy’s best team will be more than a match for Spain. We are in store for a cracker, though it will be a tight very tactical game of contrasting styles. I have a feeling we will see the Italy of their opening match versus Belgium where their defence will be extremely hard to breach despite Spain’s ‘pass pass pass’ and like Croatia did a breakaway may well be enough for Italy and end Spanish hopes of three titles in a row. 1- 0 to the Azzuri
England v Iceland – Nice
Iceland are a remarkable story. Similar to Hungary, I thought they would be cannon fodder in Group F. They are unbeaten and whilst their football may not be the most exciting they have done what they have needed to progress under the tutelage of veteran former Sweden manager, Lars Lagerbäck as part of their joint management team . As has been alluded to throughout the competition they are the smallest nation competing but have one of the biggest hearts. Their last second win over Austria meant instead of heading to Lyon to play the hosts they will now face England. The English are still smarting a little from not topping their own Group after failing to breakdown a stubborn Slovakian side which will give the Icelanders confidence as they will play in a very similar way. There are a few question marks over the English team and manager Roy Hodgson will need to solve these as we have passed the second chance saloon now. All the pressure is on England, Iceland have already exceeded expectations. England to bounce back into some kind of form, an early goal to open up the match and make for a comfortable victory. 3-0 to England.
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