As Euro 2016 reaches the knockout stages this weekend, FOUR home nation countries not only survived but thrived in the group phase. With the competition being wide open, we really can not pick a front runner at this point. Yes, France are the hosts but they only seem to turn up in the last 10 minutes, while Spain, Germany, Belgium and Portugal have all struggled in the group stages. With the guarantee of at least one of the home nations making it through to the Quarter Finals, we will be providing our thoughts on all the games running up to the final, on what will no doubt be a very dramatic week.

It promises to be one of the closest tournaments to date and we cannot wait.

Viva la Euro! 

In the space of a week England made sure they once again left Europe. This is by far the most humiliating defeat since losing to the USA back in the 1950 World Cup, with a spineless English team deservedly knocked out of Euro 2016. It would be amiss to focus purely on England’s flops as full credit goes to Iceland for a very well organised and passionate team performance. Pure and simple, they just wanted it more than England and it showed with a better work rate and team togetherness. We hope that England fans will lick their wounds and roar on Iceland, as the boys in blue have the full backing of the team here at Studio Diva – next up France!

The result also saw Roy Hodgson hand in his resignation minutes after the final whistle. There is an overwhelming feeling that he was never the right man for the job, only highlighted with poor decision making such as picking a player who has missed a majority of the season and playing him in key tournament games. 

But where now for England? They need a coach who will bring a fresh approach and pride to an ailing national side. I for one hope they approach Eddie Howe, a young and talented manager who has worked wonders at Bournemouth. The bookies have Gareth Southgate as the front runner for the job but his appointment could only be a step sideways rather than forward.

 FRAN OLLY BEN
 Poland 1 – 2 Portugal Poland 2 – 2 Portugal* (pens) Poland 1 – 0 Portugal
 Wales* 1 – 1 Belgium (pens) Wales 0 – 3 Belgium Wales 2 – 0 Belgium
 Germany 2 – 1 Italy Germany* 1 – 1 Italy (AET) Germany 1 – 2 Italy
 France 3 – 0 Iceland France 2 – 0 Iceland France 0 – 1 Iceland (c’mon!)

As the only home nation team left in the competition, Wales face an unenviable task of a familiar foe in the form of Belgium. These two ran a good race in the qualifiers with Wales taking the advantage in the face to face games but not in the final group standings. Hazard and co. impressed in the last round but the question remains as to wether or not they can play as a team rather than a bunch of individual. 

After conquering a lacklustre England, Iceland have become the tournament’s dark horses, however we feel their fairytale may hit a French iceberg with two of the tournaments stand out players in Payet and Griezmann. 

Lewandowski hasn’t had the best tournament for Poland to date and we don’t think his luck will improve against the Portuguese. 

And then we come to the clash of the titans with Germany vs Italy. The Azzurri have already seen off one set of Champions and now they have the chance to take the scalp of another and topple the World Cup holders. 

It promises to be another dramatic round of which we will once again try to predict…

Elsewhere there was another game going on which saw Italy brush aside the current Champions Spain. From what we saw in this game you would have to rank Italy as strong favourites to at least make the finals, if not win it. They have the perfect balance of a solid defence, creative midfield and lethal attack. 

Kit colour shouldn’t affect a game but an interesting stat shows that Spain have now lost their last 5 games at European championships or World Cups when wearing white. Perhaps the same bad luck applies to England!

Finally, here are the results of our Monday predictions. Sad to say, we didn’t do too well!

RESULT FRAN OLLY BEN
 Italy 2 – 0 Spain  ITA 0 – 1 ESP ITA 1 – 2 ESP ITA 2 – 1 ESP
 England 1 – 2 Iceland  ENG 2 – 0 ICE ENG 2 – 0 ICE ENG 1 – 0 ICE

MONDAY 27TH JUNE

Now onto this eve’s games with the small matter of England vs the Nordic Vikings of Iceland. Being the smallest nation in the tournament has not held Iceland back, remember this is a team who beat Holland, not once but twice in the qualifiers. They have nothing to lose and all the pressure will be on a youthful England to once again reach another Quarter Final.

Not only do we have England to look forward to but we also have undoubtedly the mouth watering tie of this round, as two football heavy weights clash in the Stade de France. It will be the sixth time Italy have met Spain at the finals of the European Championship, making it the most played fixture in the tournament.

Will Italian hearts be broken by Alvaro Morata, the man who helped fire Juventus to another Scudetto, or will the current Champions out-pass the Italians into submission, here are our predictions…

 FRAN OLLY BEN
Italy 0-1 Spain Italy 1-2 Spain Italy 2-1 Spain
England 2-0 Iceland England 2-0 Iceland England 1-0 Iceland

WEEKEND ROUND-UP

Will it be another Brexit this evening? We hope not as we’ve already seen two of the home nations packing their bags and flags this weekend. Thankfully the glorious nation of Gareth Bale (also known as Wales) managed to scrape through in a very close and rather dull encounter with Northern Ireland. They do say it’s not always beneficial to score early and so it proved with the Republic of Ireland, who couldn’t hold on to their 2 minute lead against the French.

Elsewhere Belgium’s golden generation showed signs that they can finally play as a team, with an impressive 4-0 demolition of Hungary. Favourites Germany took apart the normally solid defence of Slovakia with a solid 3-0 win and Portugal managed to edge past Croatia with the help of extra time.

We also saw one of the worst penalties you will ever see from Arsenal’s new £30m signing Granit Xhaka – if you missed it please view it again below, shocking! The miss ultimately cost Switzerland their place in the Quarters following a 1-1 draw with a ruthless Poland following the goal of the tournament thus far from Sheridan Shaqiri?

PREDICTION RESULTS

We’ll be posting our thoughts on the weekend’s games shortly, but first thing’s first – how did we do with our predictions?

RESULT FRAN OLLY BEN
 Switzerland 1 – 1 Poland (pens)  SWI 0 – 1 POL  SWI 0 – 1 POL  SWI 0 – 1 POL
 Wales 1 – 0 N. Ireland  WAL 2 – 0 NIR  WAL 2 – 0 NIR  WAL 3 – 0 NIR
 Croatia 0 – 1 Portugal  CRO 1 – 1 POR* (pens)  CRO* 1 – 1 POR (ET)  CRO 3 – 2 POR
 France 2 – 1 Rep. Ireland  FRA 2 – 0 IRE  FRA* 1 – 1 IRE (pens)  FRE 0 – 0 IRE* (ET) 
 Germany 3 – 0 Slovakia ★ GER 3 – 0 SLV ★  GER 1 – 0 SLV  GER 2 – 0 SLV
 Hungary 0 – 4 Belgium  HUN 2 – 2 BEL* (pens)  HUN 2 – 1 BEL  HUN 0 – 2 BEL

WEEKEND PREDICTIONS

Obviously Fran has his fingers firmly crossed for a Wales win but it’s a damn shame they are up against the surprise package of Northern Ireland – the only consolation is that one of the home nations will be going through. The hosts come up against Ireland who will no doubt still be feeling the injustice of that infamous Henry handball. While another very interesting tie sees Croatia taking on an underwhelming Portugal side who are just starting to see the best out of their talisman Ronaldo.

Quite frankly nobody really knows what will happen in this tournament… however we’ve given it a go! Studio Diva’s resident football experts Ben, Fran and Olly have predicted the potential outcomes of the games this weekend. Here are our insightful, analytical or just good old fashioned guesses: 

 FRAN OLLY BEN
 Switzerland 0 – 1 Poland  Switzerland 0 – 1 Poland  Switzerland 0 – 1 Poland
 Wales 2 – 0 N. Ireland  Wales 2 – 0 N. Ireland  Wales 3 – 0 N. Ireland
 Croatia 1 – 1 Portugal* (pens)  Croatia* 1 – 1 Portugal (ET)  Croatia 3 – 2 Portugal
 France 2 – 0 Rep. Ireland  France* 1 – 1 Rep. Ireland (pens)  France 0 – 0 Rep. Ireland* (ET) 
 Germany 3 – 0 Slovakia  Germany 1 – 0 Slovakia  Germany 2 – 0 Slovakia
 Hungary 2 – 2 Belgium* (pens)  Hungary 2 – 1 Belgium  Hungary 0 – 2 Belgium

By Studio Diva