Venue: Stade de France
Date: Sunday, July 10
France take on Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on Sunday. With both sides full of talented stars, fans can expect a brilliant finish to a brilliant tournament. After the recent terror attacks in Paris, the country is looking up to its footballers to deliver some much-needed good news.
Les Blues have been steady performers right through the tournament. They have played shown all the qualities that define a winning team. In the absence of Karim Benzeman, Antoine Griezmann has stepped up to the occasion for the hosts.
Despite injuries and suspensions, Didier Deschamps has shown that his French side is capable of dealing with adversities even against the best opponents like Germany.
Portugal enjoyed a rather easy end of the draw. They played Poland, Croatia and Wales en route to the finals. Many are still not convinced of this team, barring skipper Cristiano Ronaldo who has hit form at the right time.
There is brilliance going forward, but Portugal’s midfield and defense has been found wanting on several occasions. In the final, they will once again rely on the likes of Ronaldo and Nani for inspiration.
France will go in as the favorites for this one. The side has too much quality on paper and is likely to come through. Also, the home crowd will be the twelfth man for France and Portugal will need some individual brilliance to silence the Stade de France.
Fans of Ronaldo will be hoping he ends his trophy drought with the national team. In a sense it is he who stands between France and a cathartic win on Sunday.
Possible starting XIs
Portugal: Rui; Soares, Fonte, Alves, Guerreiro; Pereira; Sanches, Silva, Mario; Nani, Ronaldo
France: Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi; Sissoko, Griezmann, Payet; Giroud
Under 3 goals in the match
Griezmann to score
France 2-1 Portugal
Venue: Stade Vélodrome
Date: Thursday, July 7
France take on Germany in the second semi-final of Euro 2016 on Thursday. There is no doubt as to whom the crowd will be rooting for in this high-octane clash.
Considering the quality of players in both squads, fans can expect a thrilling contest in Marseille.
Germany come into this match on the back of penalty shootout win against Italy. France on the other hand easily brushed aside Iceland’s challenge.
Joachim Loew’s has plenty of problems as Matt Hummels, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Mario Gomez will not feature in this game. While the defender is suspended, the trio is out injured.
There is good news for Didier Deschamps as Adil Rami and N'Golo Kante will be back to the squad after serving suspensions.
At full strength, the world cup winners held a slight edge over the hosts. With key players injured however, there is nothing to choose between Germany and Les Blues.
Possible starting line-ups:
Germany XI: Neuer; Howedes, Boateng, Hector; Kimmich, Draxler, Kroos, Hector; Müller, Özil; Götze
France XI: Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Mangala, Evra; Kanté, Matuidi; Pogba, Griezmann, Payet; Giroud
Under 2.5 goals in match
Germany to win in extra time
France 1-2 Germany
Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais
Date: Wednesday, July 6
Portugal take on Wales in the first semi-final of Euro 2016 in what many believe will be a cracker of a contest. This match is also being billed as a duel between Real Madrid teammates and world football superstars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal have not really set this tournament on fire and have relied largely upon individual brilliance of Ronaldo, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma.
Fernando Santos’ men have failed to seal the deal in regular play right through the tournament and have relied on extra-time or penalties to progress.
Wales have improved as the tournament has progressed and clear signs of confidence can now be seen within Chris Coleman’s giant killers.
Apart from the brilliance of Bale and Aaron Ramsey, skipper Ashley Williams has defended resolutely and lead by example.
Surprisingly, Bale has outperformed Ronaldo at the event is clearly enjoying a dream run with his national side.
While Lionel Messi retired from international football after failing to win the Copa America, Ronaldo can edge in arch rival in this department if he were to go all the away at the Euros.
Possible starting line-ups:
Portugal XI: Rui; Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Eliseu; Carvalho; Mario, Sanches, Silva; Nani, Ronaldo
Wales XI: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale; Robson-Kanu
Cristiano Ronaldo to score
Gareth Bale to score
Over 2.5 goals in match
Portugal 2-1 Wales
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Date: Friday, July 1
Wales take on Belgium in one of the most exciting quarterfinal fixtures of the tournament. Considering the firepower at its disposal, Belgium is the favorite to win this encounter.
When the two sides last meet in 2015, Wales edged out the Eden Hazard’s side 1-0. In 2014 however, the two teams played out a goalless draw.
Gareth Bale’s side made it to the quarterfinal after beating Northern Ireland 1-0. Belgium on the other hand crushed Hungary 4-0.
Without a doubt Bale and Hazard will be the two most discussed players in the team dressing rooms.
Defensively strong Wales have relied upon the pace and trickery of Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale to unlock teams.
Belgium too have plenty of firepower in attack and the Welsh defenders could find it too hot to handle.
While Belgium are the dark horse, Wales are a surprise entrant to this late stage of the tournament.
With Iceland dumping out England, Chris Coleman will know anything is possible on a big football night.
Possible playing XIs
Wales: Hennessey; Chester, Williams, Davies; Gunter, Allen, Ledley, Ramsey, Taylor; Bale; Vokes
Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Nainggolan, Witsel; Mertens, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku
Belgium 2-1 Wales
Over 1.5 goals in match
Eden Hazard to score
Venue: Stade Velodorme, Marseille
Date: June 30
Portugal face Poland in Marseille for a place in the semifinal of Euro 2016. While Cristiano Ronaldo’s men are favorites to win this tie, Poland are more than capable of creating an upset.
The Real Madrid superstar is yet to win a major tournament with his country and he will hope to keep those hopes alive when the two sides clash.
Portugal have not exactly set the tournament on fire. They held firm against Croatia in the round of 16 before Ricardo Quaresma delivered a late winner.
Lukasz Fabianski will retain his position between the sticks for Poland as first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny continues to nurse a thigh injury.
Poland fans will be praying for Robert Lewandowski to come good in this crucial encounter.
“Sometimes you have to be pragmatic. It’d be nice to play pretty but that’s not always how you win tournaments,” said Fernando Santos ahead of the game.
"We don't have a single problem with the fact that Robert Lewandowski hasn't scored so far,” said Adam Nawalka.
Possible starting XI:
Poland: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski, Grosicki, Milik, Lewandowski.
Portugal: Rui Patricio, Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Joao Mario,, Adrien Silva, Carvalho, Renato Sanches, Nani, Ronaldo.
Poland 2-1 Portugal
Over 1.5 goals
Robert Lewandowski to score
Venue: Stade de Lyon
Date: Wednesday, June 22
Portugal take on Hungary in a do-or-die battle in Group D of the UEFA Euro 2016. Coach Fernando Santos will rely heavily on talisman striker Cristiano Ronaldo to take his side to the round of 16.
Since Hungary are already through, Bernd Storck is likely to rest some of his key players. Nothing but a win will help Ronaldo’s men qualify for the next round and all the pressure will be on them.
Interestingly, the Hungarians haven’t beaten the Portuguese in any of their last 10 meetings. But their overall recent record has been fairly impressive.
Portugal have reached the round of 16 in all their last six attempts. However, their recent record at major tournaments has been disappointing. Portugal have won just once in their last 6 games.
While they are favorites to get the win against Hungary, one cannot rule out the possibility of a huge shock and upset at the Euro 2016 tonight.
Form guide (all games, most recent first)
Possible starting XIs:
Hungary: Király; Lang, Guzmics, Juhász, Kádár; Nagy, Gera; Dzsudzsák, Kleinheisler, Lovrencsics; Szalai.
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Vieirinha, Ricardo Carvalho, Pepe, Eliseu; William Carvalho, João Moutinho, Renato Sanches; Ricardo Quaresma, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani.
Hungary 1-0 Portugal
Venue: Stade des Lumieres
Date: Monday, June 13
Italy open their Euro 2016 campaign with a tough fixture against dark horses Belgium at the Stade des Lumieres on Monday. Considered a typical tournament team, Italy will have their work cut out against a very talented Belgian side.
Marc Wilmots will be delighted to welcome back Eden Hazard and Thomas Vermaelen into the starting line-up after the duo had an injury scare.
Known for their defensive discipline, the Azzurri will rely heavily on Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini to keep the flamboyant Belgian attack at bay.
Interestingly, the Red Devils have never beaten Antonio Conte’s men in their three encounters at major tournaments. The last five meetings between them have produced 18 goals.
Despite entering the tournament without key players, the Italians remain one of the favorites to lift the title. It must be noted that they were unbeaten in their qualifying campaign.
This match is likely to boil down to a tactical ballte between Belgium's attack and Italy's defense. One thing is for sure, this is the match of the tournament so far.
Possible starting XIs
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Witsel, Nainggolan; Mertens, De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku.
Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Candreva, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian; Immobile, Zaza.
Belgium 1-1 Italy
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Date: Friday, June 10
Hosts France kick off the EURO 2016 against Group A rivals Romania. While the opener may not be decisive, it is important to get off to a winning start in a big tournament.
Les Blues have a fantastic record when it comes to playing at home at high-profile events. The French fans will remember their team’s triumph at Euro 1984 and of course the 1998 World Cup.
Romania will be no pushovers though. Anghel Iordănescu’s men remained unbeaten through their qualifying campaign, winning and drawing five games each.
The Romanians are excellent at the back and will be tough to break down. Coming into the Euros, they conceded just two goals in 10 games.
France are of course the favorites going into this match. Paul Pogba will pull the strings for the team in midfield and will be the player to watch out for.
The home side is unbeaten against Romania in their last 10 meetings. Interestingly, the French team failed to win four of their last five encounters against Romania.
The last time Romania beat France was way back in April 1972.
Possible starting XIs:
France: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Évra; Pogba, Kanté, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet.
Romania: Tătăruşanu; Săpunaru, Chiricheş, Grigore, Raţ; Hoban, Pintilii; Popa, Stanciu, Stancu; Keșerü.
France 1-0 Romania