Euro 2020

Euro 2020 round of 16 ties - ranked

Robbie Copeland
The Euro 2020 round of 16 is upon us
The Euro 2020 round of 16 is upon us / Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Well, that was quick, wasn't it?

It seems like Euro 2020 only just started, but somehow, we're already at the halfway point of the tournament.

Gone are the days of 2pm kick-offs, third-place permutations and Netherlands running over North Macedonia like a freight train colliding with a garden fence. In their place are some very tasty ties that will shape the business end of the tournament.

We now know who's playing who when the knockout stage gets underway on Saturday. Here are all the games we have to look forward to, ranked by their intrigue.

8. Italy vs Austria

Matteo Pessina celebrates with Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro...
Italy cruised through to the round of 16 / Insidefoto/Getty Images

When? Saturday 26 June, 8pm (UK time)
Where? Wembley Stadium, London

Austria look in decent shape after coming through a sticky group in second place, but unfortunately, they've drawn Italy.

Roberto Mancini's team are unbeaten in about 500 games and didn't concede a goal at any point in Group A.

Procession inbound? You'd think so.

7. France vs Switzerland (Bucharest)

Karim Benzema
The world champions qualified without too much trouble / Franck Fife - Pool/Getty Images

When? Monday 28 June, 8pm (UK time)
Where? Arena Nationala, Bucharest

France came through the proverbial group of death without once tasting defeat, and remain one of the favourites to win the tournament outright.

They showed some vulnerability in drawing with Hungary, granted, and haven't quite found their rhythm just yet.

But facing up to a Swiss side who haven't gone beyond the round of 16 at a major tournament since 1954... you'd fancy the world champions for a relatively straightforward win.

6. Sweden vs Ukraine

Dejan Kulusevski, Emil Forsberg, Albin Ekdal
Sweden have been one of the best sides to watch so far / Maxim Shemetov - Pool/Getty Images

When? Tuesday 29 June, 8pm (UK time)
Where? Hampden Park, Glasgow

On the face of it, this may be the least inspiring tie of the last 16, but don't be fooled!

Sweden aren't to be messed with heading into the knockout stages. Zlatan or no Zlatan, they cruised it through Group E, taking seven points from nine and besting Spain for top spot, and will fancy themselves in a winnable tie against Ukraine.

Yet their opponents are one of the most volatile and unpredictable at the tournament, scoring four and conceding five as they snuck through as one of the best third-placed sides.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk have brought their shooting boots, but so has Emil Forsberg (the joint-second top scorer so far with three). This one seems unlikely to be goalless.

5. Wales vs Denmark

When? Saturday 26 June, 5pm (UK time)
Where? Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam

Not too much was expected of Wales heading into the summer, but they quietly went about their business in Group A, and had all-but qualified with a game to spare after taking four points from Switzerland and Turkey.

With that dream run to the semi-finals in 2016 still fresh in the memory, they want to make it another special tournament, but making the last eight won't be easy against a Denmark side who have the momentum on their side.

The neutrals' favourites only managed three points in the group but still made it through as runners-up after thumping Russia on the final day. With Mikkel Damsgaard and Yussuf Poulsen hitting form at just the right time, they will be eyeing a first knockout win at the Euros since winning it in 1992.

4. Croatia vs Spain

Pau Torres
Spain qualified with a rampant win over Slovakia / Thanassis Stavrakis - Pool/Getty Images

When? Monday 28 June, 5pm (UK time)
Where? Parken Stadium, Copenhagen

The myth that Croatia are an ageing, past-it side is pretty easily dispelled when you look at the actual facts. Their squad, with an average age of just under 28, is only the ninth-oldest at the tournament.

However, there is no denying that they are not what they were in 2018. Without Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Danijel Subasic, they struggled in Group D and needed a Luka Modric masterclass at Hampden to make the knockouts.

Luis Enrique's Spain, meanwhile, look vulnerable. But they do have a big performance in them - just ask Slovakia for a reference on that one.

This is a meeting of two sides far from their best who each have a point to prove. There could be fireworks.

3. Netherlands vs Czech Republic

When? Sunday 27 June, 5pm (UK time)
Where? Puskas Arena, Budapest

The Dutch have arguably been the best - actually, there's no arguably about in. The Dutch have been the best team to watch at the tournament so far, and they've landed themselves a winnable tie as they hope for a quarter-final date with Germany or England.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay fired them through Group C with no trouble whatsoever, though their opening clash with Ukraine showed there is still weakness in them to be exploited.

A handy Czech side, with halfway-line goal hero Patrick Schick leading the line and West Ham duo Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal within their ranks, will be out to do just that.

2. England vs Germany

When? Tuesday 29 June, 5pm (UK time)
Where? Wembley Stadium, London

Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh yes.

It's the one England didn't want, but the one everyone who doesn't support England wanted them to get. One of the oldest international footballing rivalries will be renewed at Wembley on Tuesday as Gareth Southgate goes one on one with Joachim Low for a quarter-final place.

It's a meeting of two sides in similar positions, with promising young squads but no real tactical identity to speak of.

It's one of the most unpredictable games the tournament has conjured up so far, so get the TV screen booked.

1. Belgium vs Portugal

When? Sunday 27 June, 8pm (UK time)
Where? Estadio La Cartuja, Seville

For the footballing purists out there, however, this is the one.

The world No.1s against the defending European champions.

Whatever happens here, one of the favourites for the tournament is going out in the round of 16.

Throw in the underlying narrative that Cristiano Ronaldo is one goal away from becoming the top goalscorer in the history of international football, and how could you not get excited for it?