Euro 2020 Tips: Mark O'Haire's team-by-team guide to the last-16 contenders

Antoine Griezmann - France
France are favourites to win Euro 2020

Euro 2020 has reached the knockout stage but where's the outright value? Who are contenders? Who are the dark horses? Mark O'Haire guides you through the remaining 16 nations chasing glory.

"If Southgate can find the right balance, the Three Lions are worthy candidates to conquer the continent"


Best Euros performance: champions (1984, 2000)

World champions and pre-tournament favourites, France remain the team to beat at Euro 2020. Les Blues boast an exceptional squad with strength and depth across almost every possible position, whilst also topping the fabled 'Group of Death', impressively dispatching Germany before draws with Hungary and Portugal. Dogged, pragmatic progress is Didier Deschamps modus operandi, although a difficult knockout stage schedule means France are no longer a value selection having opened the competition as reasonable 5/1 jollies.


Best Euros performance: third place (1968)

Will England get a better opportunity to end 55 years of hurt at major tournaments? Having topped Group D, the Three Lions boast a generous run to the Wembley final, should Gareth Southgate's charges successfully dispose of Germany in the last-16. England's squad is packed full of exceptional game-changers but performances have uninspired thus far with only Slovakia and Finland firing in fewer on-target attempts. If Southgate can find the right balance, the Three Lions are worthy candidates to conquer the continent.


Best Euros performance: champions (1972, 1980, 1996)

Germany scraped into the knockout stage thanks to Leon Goretzka's late goal against rank outsiders Hungary. Die Mannschaft toiled for large swathes of matches with France and Hungary despite a dominance of possession and territory, yet produced a masterclass display when swatting Portugal aside in their second showdown. Joachim Low's team possess world class talent within the ranks, however, individual errors and systematic failings at the back have continuously held Germany back since their 2018 World Cup abomination. Cash has come for the three-time winners due to a kind knockout stage schedule, should England be overcome at Wembley.


Best Euros performance: champions (1968)

Italy attracted the most outright support of any Euro 2020 nation during a flawless group stage effort. The Azzurri impressed by overcoming Turkey, Switzerland and Wales with eye-catching attacking efforts alongside a defence that's yet to concede a goal. Roberto Mancini's men have the personnel to deal with suspension or injury issues, and have a manageable last-16 tie against Austria to come. Even so, if the market plays out to expectations, Belgium and France await before the final and the resurgent Azzurri are yet to be truly tested during their long 30-game unbeaten streak.


Best Euros performance: champions (1964, 2008, 2012)

Spain generated the highest Expected Goals (xG) output during the group stage yet La Roja supporters could be forgiven for feeling a little underwhelmed by Luis Enrique's team. Selection concerns remain rife, and key forward players have yet to really click into gear after fluffing a catalogue of opportunities against Sweden and Poland. Slovakia were dismissed with ease after a fortuitous opener and Spain's inconsistencies and a lack of ruthless edge in front of goal may prove their undoing against elite opposition.


Best Euros performance: runners-up (1980)

Belgium have been eased in the outright betting following a devilishly difficult knockout stage draw. If Roberto Martinez's men can navigate a path past Portugal, the likes of Italy and France stand in their way before the final. Nevertheless, the return to fitness of Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard, coupled with Romelu Lukaku's form mark the Red Devils out as dangerous opposition. Belgium boast 23 competitive victories in 26 meaningful matches since tabling bronze at the 2018 World Cup, although defensive deficiencies could prove to be the Red Devils' downfall.


Best Euros performance: champions (2016)

Spain are the only nation to successfully defend their European Championship title and confidence in their Iberian neighbours Portugal has waned following an unremarkable group-stage display, as well as being handed arguably the hardest passage to the Euro 2020 final. The Selecao are expertly-led by wily veteran coach Fernando Santos, an expert in diligent and pragmatic knockout football, although pre-tournament worries over the side's defensive strength have been exacerbated, whilst few of the star-studded forwards outside of Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the tournament by storm. Portugal have understandably drifted in the markets and make little appeal considering their schedule.


Best Euros performance: champions (1988)

Netherlands have enjoyed a slice of market support after dispelling pre-tournament predictions of doom with a maximum point haul in Group C. The Oranje caught the imagination with a series of exciting efforts, and a reasonable path to the semi-finals has raised expectations. The spine of the side is a match for most but doubts persist over Frank de Boer's ability to engineer a serious assault on silverware from the dugout. Despite the draw, Netherlands are difficult to trust under their current leadership.


Best Euros performance: champions (1992)

Denmark were the best backed outsider at Euro 2020 over the past 12 months and the Red-White deserve huge praise for the way in which they recovered from the horrifying Christian Eriksen episode to forge a path into the knockout stages. Underpinned by a strong and solid structure, the spine of Kasper Hjulmand's side suggests the Scandinavians will be well capable of grinding out results in knockout tournament football. But Eriksen's absence robs the Scandinavians of their one world class creator, which could prove to be their undoing.


Best Euros performance: semi-finals (1992)

Sweden bust many group winner multiples after finishing top of the tree in Group E. The Blue-Yellow's obdurate and unadventurous display against Spain gave the group a platform to work from and hard-earned victories over Slovakia and Poland followed. Under astute head coach Janne Andersson, the Blue-Yellow boast a strong unity, are functional rather than flashy but mightily effective and efficient. Recommended as a back-to-lay opportunity, the Swedes have halved in price and traders should look to exit their position now before a tricky tie against Ukraine, where the Swedes appear overrated by the market.


Best Euros performance: quarter-finals (1996, 2008)

Croatia have consistently punched well above their weight on the international stage and deserve credit for progressing from a trappy pool. Zlatko Dalic's side failed to impress against England and Czech Republic, but arrived at the party with an eye-catching effort against Scotland to secure a top-two finish. The squad is undoubtedly weaker on paper compared to 2018, and doubts persist over the team's defensive ability, whilst question marks remain over the central striking position. The Balkan boys aren't expected to make major in-roads from here.


Best Euros performance: semi-finals (2016)

Wales were unfairly written off as Group A outsiders pre-tournament but the Dragons deservedly steered their way through a competitive pool and into the gentler side of the knockout draw. Underpinned by a rock-solid base, Robert Page's posse should relish their role as underdogs with an effective contain and counter approach that utilises world class operators Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey on the break, as well as speedster Dan James. Wales will not be easy meat for Denmark in the last-16, with Netherlands a potentially passable prospect in the quarter-finals should the market play out to expectations.

Czech Republic

Best Euros performance: runners-up (1996)

Czech Republic have been European Championship regulars over the past 25 years and the Lions have certainly made their mark on Euro 2020. Patrik Schick's sensational double against Scotland put Jaroslav Silhavy's troops into a commanding position, with qualification assured after a testing draw with Croatia. Although the Czechs were edged out by England, their organisational skills, set-piece proficiency and physicality mark the underdogs out as awkward opponents. Netherlands await in the last-16 and Silhavy's outfit are well capable of bloodying the nose of an elite nation - the Lions don't deserve to be dismissed.


Best Euros performance: group-stage (2012, 2016)

Analysing Ukraine and their overall Euro 2020 prospects hasn't been easy. The Yellow-Blues were deservedly downed by Netherlands in their curtain-raiser despite a strong 20-minute spell, hit par when brushing North Macedonia aside, before seemingly waving the white flag against Austria and accepting their fate as a third-placed team in Group C. Andriy Shevchenko leads a technically gifted squad with game-changers in forward areas, although defensive vulnerabilities suggest quarter-finals are the absolute best for the current Ukraine crop.


Best Euros performance: round of 16 (2016)

Switzerland haven't progressed past the first knockout round of a major tournament since 1938 and Die Nati's glass ceiling looks unlikely to be bust this summer with Vladimir Petkovic's posse looking vulnerable against world champions France in the last-16. Traditionally consistent, if unspectacular, the Swiss squad were easily ousted by Italy in Rome, and a similar outcome is anticipated here despite enjoying two days extra rest over Les Blues.


Best Euros performance: group-stage (2008, 2016)

Austria have progressed past the Euros group-stage for the very first time after a one-sided success against Ukraine in their final pool fixture. Having also overcome North Macedonia, Franco Foda's overly-cautious side were put in their place by Netherlands on matchday two, a concerning outcome with Italy in opposition in the last-16. Das Team are well stocked with quality but can be easily opposed considering the lack of faith in system or approach employed by their under-fire and unloved German head coach.

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