The round of 16 is complete and the QF lineup is as follows
France v Iceland
It's not quite the final 8 some expected but I have a few thoughts however,
Poland v Portugal
This could be the game most likely to end 0-0. Both sides are well organized and play on the counter. Both ensure they try not to lose the game before they look to win it. Defenders and keepers could be our best play from these sides. Christian Ronaldo needs one goal to equal Michel Platini's all-time Euros goal record.
Wales V Belgium
A 3-0 win over Republic of Ireland and 4-0 win over Hungary suggest Belgium know how to bully the smaller sides. They also have the look of a side starting to believe they can make it to the final at least. Wales have been a little hot and cold but in Gareth Bale may have the most feared player in the competition. The Red Devils have kept 3 clean sheets in a row since the opening game defeat by Italy but will be missing Thomas Vermaelen through suspension. Investment in Belgium seems a must and with Bale scoring a goal or assist in all 4 games so far so does he.
Germany v Italy
Did you know Italy have never lost to Germany in an international tournament finals? 8 games 4 wins and 4 draws. Italy beat Germany in the semifinal 4 years ago in a game where Mario Balotelli looked like he was going to break through into one of the very best forwards. History then says back the fantastically managed Italians again. My thought is this will be a nail bitter for the fans and I can see it going late, perhaps to penalties. You know who will win if that happens right?
France v Iceland
As we saw last night Iceland are not to be underestimated. First up Lars Lagerback once again showed what a good international manager he is and Heimir Hallgrimsson can take as much credit as Lars. Once again we saw how a team with tactical plan, organisation and greater desire can beat a group of talented individuals who lack those attributes in the win over England. France will be missing two key players in N'golo Kante and Adil Rami. Regardless they will still be heavy favourites and it's very hard to see this French side playing as poorly as England. Look to load up on France if you can but the odd Iceland gamble could pay off.
As for my side there are 4 players in my squad out of the tournament Harry Kane, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Danijel Subasic. I also have a problem that Benedikt Howedes didn't start in the round of 16 and therefore could leave me with 5 none playing squad members. Even if Howedes did play I'm not sure I like the odds of Germany keeping 5 clean sheets in a row against a side that are excellent on the counter. My choice is either to go with a 14 man squad or take the hit on the 5th transfer with a view to seeing its benefit in the semifinals. For that to work I need to be able to forecast the semifinal line up and realistically France are the safest bet.
As stands I have the following draft squad
Hector, Alderweild, Guerriro, Jedzejczyk, Hoewdes
KDB, Kroos, Draxler, Payet, Matuidi
Lukaku, Bale, Gomez
Having Bale against my Belgium back line is a no win situation so I would like to bring in a second keeper option and Hugo Lloris is my preferred option.
I'm not sure if I will go with this set up but as I misjudged the final 8 sides I have little space to play. I think I'd like to cover the Poland/Portugal game better but I'd need to use an extra transfer to get a defensive option
How is your side looking?