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6 Reds remain in France – Euro 2016 Quarter-Finals Preview

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Euro 2016 is now reaching its business end, with the four quarter-finals starting on Thursday.

The Round of 16 was full of drama, with many of the usual suspects progressing to the last-eight, but some bowing out in surprise fashion.

England’s 2-1 defeat to Iceland was arguably the most embarrassing result in the national team’s history, with Roy Hodgson resigning after the game.

It has been yet another gutless showing by the Three Lions at a major tournament, with key players underperforming and a lack of mental strength alarmingly evident.

Both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland also exited the competition, losing to Wales and France, respectively, while current holders Spain were deservedly knocked out by Italy.

The current 2016 Euro odds curated from this sportsbook review site list the current favourites to win the tournament as France, closely followed by Germany.

The quarter-finals promise yet more entertainment, and for all eight remaining teams, they will now feel that anything is possible.

Poland vs. Portugal

Poland's Piotr Zielinski (left) and Ukraine's Yevhen Konoplyanka battle for the ball. (Picture by: Nick Potts / EMPICS Sport)

In a lot of ways, this is probably the least eye-catching of the quarter-final match-ups, but it still promises to an unpredictable, end-to-end contest.

Poland snuck through on penalties against Switzerland in the last round, but they weren’t wholly convincing, particularly as the match progressed.

Star striker Robert Lewandowski is still searching for his first goal in the tournament, and his country desperately need the Bayern Munich superstar to find top gear on Thursday evening.

Portugal overcame a strongly-fancied Croatia side in the Round of 2016, with Ricardo Quaresma’s extra-time winner sending them through.

They look a very limited side, though, barring the obvious threat of Cristiano Ronaldo, but they have a knack of just getting the job done.

Another semi-final beckons.

Predicted Winners: Portugal

Wales vs. Belgium

PARIS, FRANCE - Saturday, June 25, 2016: Wales' Joe Allen in action against Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Steven Davis during the Round of 16 UEFA Euro 2016 Championship match at the Parc des Princes. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Wales are now the sole nation flying the British flag, having ground out a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Chris Coleman’s side have been one of the most spirited teams of Euro 2016, and they look a very tough unit to break down.

Throw in the world-class brilliance of Gareth Bale, and the quality of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, and it is clear to see why they have reached the quarter-finals.

Belgium have recovered well from their dreadful opening game of the tournament, when they were soundly beaten 2-0 by Italy.

They dispatched of Hungary with consummate ease in the last round, and there is a feeling that everything is clicking into place at the right time.

Eden Hazard was sensational in that game, and can win a match on his own, while Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku are both match-winners on their day.

Defensively, they also look well-organised, with Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen all growing into the tournament.

There’s six Reds left in France and five are involved in this game. Only three – Simon Mignolet, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke – will remain if Belgium win, while just two – Joe Allen and Danny Ward – will remain if Wales progress to the last four.

Like many games at Euro 2016, it is tough to choose a winner, but Belgium feel as though they may just have too much for the Welsh.

Predicted Winner: Belgium

Germany vs. Italy

International Football - UEFA Euro 2016 France - Wales v Slovakia

What a match this promises to be.

Germany and Italy have had some classic showdowns throughout history, including the 1982 World Cup final, and Saturday’s clash really is too close to call.

The Azzurri have surprised everyone during the last fortnight or so, and although it is far from their greatest team of all time, their team ethic has really stood out.

Defensively, they are unrivalled, and their pace on the counter-attack and clinical finishing can hurt any side in world football.

Emre Can‘s Germany breezed past Slovakia in the last-16, and Joachim Low’s men continue to look more and more ominous by the game. Can is yet to feature at this tournament.

Certain players are still struggling to find top form, especially Thomas Muller, but they have world-class talent throughout the team.

It could be the most enthralling match of the tournament so far, and whoever wins will have a strong chance of going all the way.

Predicted Winner: Germany

France vs. Iceland

VALE DO LOBO, PORTUGAL - Friday, May 27, 2016: Official Euro016 match ball during day four of the pre-UEFA Euro 2016 training camp at the Vale Do Lobo resort in Portugal. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This genuinely should be a comfortable win for France, but Iceland have shown a number of times that they are not to be underestimated.

England can vouch for that.

The minnows may been very negative, but when chances have come their way, they have taken them ruthlessly. They have then defended for their lives.

It really does seem impossible to see France not progressing, however, and the way they turned things around against Republic of Ireland will have given them so much momentum.

Antoine Griezmann is growing more influential by the game, Dimitri Payet remains one of the tournament’s star men and Paul Pogba is always capable of a moment of genius.

Their attacking quality will simply be too much for Iceland, but if Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side do go out, they should still be incredibly proud of their efforts this summer.

If they win again, we may have to start wondering if another Leicester City fairy tale is on the horizon.

Predicted Winner: France

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