Euro 2020: Second Round Draw
The Second Round draws for Euro 2020 took place today with France legend Zinedine Zidane
and former England star Frank Lampard
doing the honors.
After 18 group games played in 6 different groups, the final 16 of the tournament will contest each other in knockout matches.
The first two teams drawn were Switzerland and Belgium.
Currently ranked 7th in the World Rankings, Belgium is definitely the favorite for the clash but the Swiss have shown they can always pull off an upset, having beaten reigning Euro champions Spain 2-1 in the group stages.
Switzerland will have to watch out for players like Manchester United's Eden Hazard
and Arsenal vice-captain Radja Nainggolan
. However, the nation, currently ranked 21st in the rankings, also boast quite a bit of quality within their squad like Granit Xhaka
and Xherdan Shaqiri
The next two teams drawn proved to be a delicious match-up for viewers and footballing fans, with giants France and Portugal being drawn together.
France are ranked 4th in the world while Andre Villas-Boas
' Portuguese are not far behind in 6th.
Both sides breezed past their groups winning two and drawing one. They are also not short of great players. Paul Le Guen
's Frenchmen have Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane
, Liverpool defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila
, Arsenal right-back Sebastian Corchia
and last but not least Benfica captain Morgan Schneiderlin
, just to name a few.
Portugal are not lacking in this aspect either, with FC Porto midfielder Fernando
and Juventus wing back Fabio Coentrao
among them. They have also brought a footballing legend along with them. Although now a 35-year-old, Cristiano Ronaldo
show no signs of aging and the 178-capped Portuguese legend will be making sure his final major international tournament ends on a high.
Sweden and Norway are drawn next.
Both are mere minnows in the tournament and to advance further to the Quarter Finals would mean an overachievement. They also share another similarity in the fact that they had to struggle to get past the group stages, with Sweden barely making it out to the Second Round.
Norway will also be facing one of their own with Norwegian manager Kjetil Rekdal
being the man in charge of the Sweden national team.
While the Swedes have players like Ramsus Elm
of CSKA Moscow and PSV's Oskar Hiljemark
, the Norwegians will be responding through star men Ruben Yttergard Jenssen
and Havard Nordtveit
. No matter how minor a role these two nations are playing in the tournament, it will still be a great match to spectate.
Another eye-savoring clash as Spain and Italy are drawn together next. It's an unfortunate tie for the Italians, with Spain probably not the opponents they were bargaining for.
's Spaniards will be looking to defend their Euro crown and win the tournament for a record fourth time in a row, but Vincenzo Montella
's Italy side will be doing all they can to prevent that.
Unbelievably, Spain stuttered in the group stages, only confirming their safe entrance to the Second Round after winning their final match, while Italy managed to cruise through their group easily. Perhaps it is a sign of what is to come...?
The Azzuri will have two players very familiar with the Spanish style of play in Barcelona duo Leonardo Bonucci
and Stephan El Shaarawy
. However it remains to be seen if this will be enough to go up against the likes of the Italian duo's Barca teammate Javi Martinez
, and Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago Alcantara
Greece and Ukraine, the next two drawn, are another two examples of tournament minnows.
Both failed to impress much in their group campaign, but made it to the Second Round anyway, and both will be looking to take their run further into the Quarter Final.
The Greek, one-time winners of the European Championships in 2004, will be led by Paris Saint-Germain duo Sokratis Papastathopoulos
and Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Ukraine will be responding to their threats in kind with Chelsea striker Alexey Baryshev
, who has had an excellent season with the Blues in the Premier League. Southampton winger Andriy Yarmolenko
and Paris Saint-Germain's Denys Garmash
can also cause problems for any side.
Germany are drawn with Euro 2020 hosts Turkey next.
's Germans are naturally the favorites with his team having players like Sampdoria duo Holger Badstuber
and Thomas Muller
, Arsenal's offensive-minded midfielder Mario Gotze
, Bayern Munich captain Toni Kroos
, and Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen
, who has been recognized as the best goalkeeper in the world currently.
However, Turkey can take heart from the fact that Germany struggled in the group stages. By contrast, the Turkish won 3 out of 3 of their group games.
and Gokmen Hacieyupoglu
might not be as big as the names of the key players in the Germany squad, but they will be giving their all to make their country proud.
England, pre-tournament favorites to at least make it to the Final of Euro 2020, have been drawn against the Czech Republic.
The Three Lions suffered a loss in the Euro 2016 Final against Spain, and it was so close yet so far for England in getting their first European Championship title. This time, led by a new manager in David Beckham
, the English boys will no doubt be hungrier than any other nation in this team to win.
Ranked 3rd in the World Rankings, England are favorites to toss the Czech aside in what English journalists are predicting as 'the beginning of the rampage through Euro 2020'. With star players Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
and Phil Jones
, England will certainly have little difficulty in a serious rampage through the tournament, and Czech Republic look certain to be the unlucky firsts.
Despite having some quality options at the back like Jakub Novotny
, the Czech have little hope of pulling off an upset, with England having breezed through their Euro group with 3 wins in 3 games.
Austria and Serbia were the final two teams drawn out, and coincidentally, they 16th and 15th-placed on the World Rankings respectively.
The Austrians have done well in their group to overcome the likes of Holland and will come face to face with Serbia in the Second Round as well as opponents like Neven Subotic
and Zdravko Kuzmanovic
However, Austria will have a top player of their own. David Alaba
, who also turns out for Arsenal, is rated as one of the best left-backs in world football and he will be a stumbling block for any Serbian right wingers trying to contribute to the team.
16 nations, 8 matches.
But only 8 out of these 16 will make it to the Quarter Finals of Euro 2020.
Who will win their fixture and make it through to the Quarter Finals? Leave your predictions in the comments section below.