Netherlands vs Czech Republic
The Netherlands have made pretty light work of progress in the Euros so far, even if Ukraine gave them a game in their opener.
It’s been three straight wins for Frank De Boer’s side, and they will view this assignation at Budapest’s Puskas Arena as similarly winnable.
Czech striker Patrik Schick is having a good tournament with three goals so far, one an all-time classic. But for all that, the side have only managed to beat Scotland. They drew with Croatia and lost to an England side that were in prosaic rather than pulsating form.
The Czechs aren’t the sharpest of shooters either; against Croatia and England, in each game they managed just one shot on target. Even if the Dutch defence provides a few opportunities to find the net, the Czechs may not be able to make them count.
At the round of 16 at Euro 2016, almost every “big-name” side playing against perceived lowlier opposition won their game – France beat Ireland, Belgium beat Hungary, Germany beat Slovakia (the only exception was England, who lost, notoriously, to Iceland).
The better teams tend to beat the lesser teams at this stage, then; who’da thunk it. A win for the Netherlands seems the likely outcome – and the Czech’s are liable to try to keep things tight, with each of their three previous game featuring two or fewer goals. Netherlands to win and under 2.5 goals in a double is a 3/1 shot.
Belgium vs Portugal
Portugal had to scrap their way out of the group of death in order to secure a place in the last 16. Progress was much more serene for Belgium, with Lukaku and De Bruyne in particular looking magnificent.
Cristiano Ronaldo continues to earn plaudits too; against France on Wednesday he equalled the all-time international scoring record. Wonderful stuff, though an alternative view of his actual performance in that game was that he scored a couple of penalties and didn’t do much else, which is Bruno Fernandes’ job, surely? But anyway.
Each of these sides are packed with talent, but Kev and Rom’s excellent adventures may just give Belgium the edge in Seville on Sunday. Roberto Martinez’s stature as an elite manager has been questioned on more than one occasion, but his side have lost just one game since 2019 (against England); maybe it’s time to put some respect on the man’s name.
As for Portugal, they may be the defending champs but Germany showed just how vulnerable this team can be. Even if the Portuguese attempt to keep it tighter than a gnat’s chuff, which is a gameplan that’s worked for them in the past, it wouldn’t be a shock if Lukaku can find a way through.
Lukaku to score the opener is a 17/4 shot, or you can back him to score at any time at 31/20. The Belgium win is 6/4. You could combine Rom to score any time and a Belgian victory in a double for 3/1.
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