European Championship Cup

Euro 2024: The Last 16 Preview & Key Matches

The 2024 Euros group stage is complete. It seems to have flown by, but as the saying goes, ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’ But there’s no more playing around; draws and losses aren’t forgiven in the knockout stages, so every team needs to be on their A-game, intensifying the competition to a whole new level.

On Wednesday, Groups E and F completed their matches, thus finalising the complete lineup for the round of 16.

On the final day of group stage action, Georgia and Slovenia defied expectations and secured their place in the last sixteen, delivering some unexpected surprises and more drama to the competition. However, Czechia suffered a devastating loss to Türkiye in the dying moments and was eliminated from the competition, adding a twist to the expected outcomes.

Now that the dust has settled from the group settings, we eagerly anticipate the round of 16 that kicks off on Saturday, June 29, following a two-day rest period. These matches are the most crucial, as they determine the teams that advance further in the competition. Let’s dive in!

Euro 2024 Last 16: Qualified Teams

Out of the initial 24 teams participating in the event, just 16 remain. The teams who secured the first and second positions in each of the six groups successfully advanced to the last 16 stages. Additionally, the top four teams that finished third in their respective groups also qualified.

  • Germany [1st Place Finish – Group A]
  • Switzerland [2nd Place Finish – Group A]
  • Spain [1st Place Finish – Group B]
  • Italy [2nd Place Finish – Group B]
  • England [1st Place Finish – Group C]
  • Denmark [2nd Place Finish – Group C]
  • Austria [1st Place Finish – Group D]
  • France [2nd Place Finish – Group D]
  • Romania [1st Place Finish – Group E]
  • Belgium [2nd Place Finish – Group E]
  • Portugal [1st Place Finish – Group F]
  • Turkey [2nd Place Finish – Group F]
  • Round of 16 Qualifying (Top Four Third-Placed Teams)
  • Slovenia, Netherlands, Slovakia, Georgia.

Euro 2024 Round of 16 Schedule

  • Switzerland vs. Italy – Saturday, June 29.
  • Germany vs. Denmark – Saturday, June 29.
  • England vs. Slovakia – Sunday, June 30.
  • Spain vs. Georgia – Sunday, June 30.
  • France vs. Belgium – Monday, July 1.
  • Portugal vs. Slovenia – Monday, July 1.
  • Romania vs. Netherlands – Tuesday, July 2.
  • Austria vs. Turkey – Tuesday, July 2.

Switzerland will face Italy in Berlin in the initial round of 16 encounters on Saturday, while hosts Germany will face Denmark in Dortmund later that day. Spain will play Georgia in Cologne on Sunday, as England, the other Sunday main event, will be eager to provide a far better performance against Slovakia following the substantial criticism received by Southgate’s team for their uninspiring draws against Denmark and Slovenia.

France will thereafter compete against Belgium in Dusseldorf on Monday, while Portugal is also scheduled to confront Slovenia in Frankfurt on the same day. On Tuesday, the last two matches will occur, with Romania facing the Netherlands in Munich and Austria competing against Turkey in Leipzig.

Quarterfinal fixtures occur on July 5 & 6, and the semifinals begin on July 9 & 10 before the Euro 2024 final concludes the tournament and crowns a winner on July 14.

Euro 2024: Round of 16 Betting Odds & Analysis

Euro 2024 Round of 16 Outright Winner Odds

Betting odds are inherently imprecise when it comes to predicting the result of an event, as they are designed to incentivize additional bets. However, we can use them as a guide. When looking at the outright winner market, we can see England has firmly held on to its top spot, while pre-tournament and joint-favourites alongside the Three Lions, France, have dropped two spots.

  • England [7/2]
  • Spain [9/2]
  • Germany [11/2]
  • France [11/2]
  • Portugal [13/2]
  • Netherlands [12/1]
  • Italy [16/1]

The Euro 2024 outright winner chances indicate at least two things:

England poses a significant threat to winning the Euro championship despite a lacklustre performance in the group stage that led to their own supporters expressing dissatisfaction by booing the squad after a goalless draw with Slovenia.

The Three Lions have been fortunate to avoid facing the most formidable opponents until the final, and this holds significant weight within the betting odds at leading Irish bookies. Thanks to the favour of the football gods, both England and Portugal have received “easy” routes to reaching the final, albeit without oddsmakers recognising Portugal as much as England, placing them as fifth favourites.

It is important to remember that the significance of the group stage is often nothing as long as you progress to the subsequent phase. Portugal initially placed third in their group after three consecutive draws during Euro 2016 but ultimately emerged as the overall champions. The Netherlands gained momentum at Euro 2020 by securing three victories in the group stage but ultimately lost 2-0 in the round of 16.

Despite lacking innovative strategies to enhance his team, England coach Gareth Southgate possesses a greater abundance of skill than any other coach. By combining a robust defensive strategy—England only conceded one goal in the group stage—with the presence of exceptional individual talents, a winning formula is created for success in a knockout tournament.

The Euro 2024 Big Eight Aren’t So Big

Gareth Southgate in Suit
England manager Gareth Southgate looks on in disappointment. The pre-tournament favourites drew two of their three group matches. (Credit: canno73 / bigstock)

The second reality that the sportsbook odds reveal is that several teams who were touted as potential winners or dark horses for Euro 2024 have failed to live up to expectations.

Let’s be brutally honest: barring Spain, none of the big eight—France, England, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy—have managed to dominate their groups and collect maximum points, and overall, have disappointed fans with their performances thus far.

Portugal performed impressive in their initial two games but suffered a 2-0 defeat against Georgia on Wednesday. On the other hand, Türkiye managed to secure a victory over Czechia, who were down to 10 men.

Then, both the Netherlands and France did not emerge as winners in Group D. Both teams performed poorly in their last matches, which cast questions on their ability to succeed in the knockout stage.

Germany and Italy required goals during the additional time in the second half of matchday 3 in order to prevent potentially expensive losses. While The Netherlands squeaked through qualifying via a top-four third-place finish.

England drew two of their three group games, and finally, despite having talented players like Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, Belgium have netted just two goals as they head to the knockout stage.

England and Portugal Have the Luck of the Euro 2024 Draw

England Fans Cheering

No other leading team has instilled a significant amount of assurance thus far in the competition, apart from Spain. However, La Roja will need to successfully negotiate the challenging top half of the draw to get to the final, which includes Denmark in the quarters and a potential quarterfinal clash with Germany before the likelihood of meeting Portugal in the semis.

While you may not instinctively feel confident in selecting England as the ultimate winner, the Three Lions might be the most sensible decision when considering all factors.

In the final 16, four group winners compete against a third-place team. The remaining two group winners compete against the runners-up, while the remaining four runners-up compete against each other.

This implies that there are two fortunate group champions who are not allowed to compete against another group winner until the semi-finals at the earliest. England is fortunate to be one of those teams.

The most straightforward paths to the final, which benefits England (Group C) and Portugal (Group F), ensure that the winner of those groups will face both a third-place team in the round of 16 and a runner-up in the quarterfinals. However, England has the additional benefit of being placed in what is clearly the less challenging half of the draw since Spain, Germany, and France are all in the other half of the round of 16 brackets, along with Portugal.

Most of the expected matchups are hypothetical; one draw and a penalty shootout later, and any of the “big eight” could crash out of the competition. But that’s the beauty of the Euros!