• Tom Abadie


Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Tuesday 29th June – 5:00pm – England vs Germany

Now the game that most of the readers will be waiting for, a remake of so many iconic games, England Germany. World Cup 1966 final, Euro 1996 semi-final or the World Cup 2010 encounter, these are some of the fixtures that have marked the history of football and international tournaments. The rivalry is strong, it is historic and will undoubtedly go beyond just football. However, on the pitch, this rivalry could create some real chaos in a game that could really go either way. It is fair to say that England have been pretty disappointing since the start of the tournament, with Gareth Southgate really struggling to find the right organisation or choose the right players to bring it home as the fans of the Three Lions would say. Efficient yes, that is a good word to describe their performances against Czech Republic and Croatia, both won by the single Sterling goals. A good defensive set up? Yes. But now look at the attacking talent of this team? You’d think this could be the deadliest attack in English football history. But no, the likes of Sancho, Grealish and Rashford are often left on the bench, while the team really is struggling to mesh together on the pitch. When it doesn’t work collectively, maybe bringing on individual talent could be the solution to break any deadlock. This works in the case of the game against Scotland, which seemed to be the most interesting game on paper of this group and turned out to be one of the worst at this tournament. There is a lot to fix for this England team, especially if they want to beat the Germans.

The Manschaft surprised everyone, particularly in the game against Portugal. While defensively it has been at times shambolic, especially against Hungary, their attacking output and tactical organisation really does show promise of a team capable of pushing beyond the boundaries set out by fans and pundits. Kai Havertz is having the tournament of his life, while Gosens and Kimmich are showing a new face for modern full backs. Now yes, there are flaws to this team, but when they know exactly how to use their qualities to the best of their ability, then those failures seem to slip under the radar. We saw against France a very good team who was pretty unfortunate to lose, a far better team against Portugal, showing a lot of character to come back into the game, and even more personality when all seemed doomed in a rainy night of Munich against Hungary. This team is full of surprises and can certainly push on for bigger things, taking into account they have fallen in the easier side of the draw of this Euro 2020. This will be a special game for everyone but as Gary Lineker says, in the end, it’s always the Germans who win.

Prediction: England 2-3 Germany

Tuesday 29th June – 8:00pm – Sweden vs Ukraine

Now yes, I know. This is somewhat of a hipster game and you might be disappointed to see this game at this stage of the tournament. But it is what it is and there is actually a lot more to this game that meets the eye. Sweden might be extremely defensive but guess what? It’s working. With the sheer talent of Forsberg and Isak up front, they can just sit back and hope that their two attacking stars deliver once again. As far as the defensive set up goes, they are certainly impressing Diego Simeone, amongst other defensive managers. Their very block is compact and does not let in many shots, as seen against Spain in the first game. Now yes, with a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the ranks, the shape could have been very different and it is sad that he dropped out so close to the tournament. But route one football is working for the Swedes who took the first place in the group. Their compact set up could pose problems to any team and certainly will pose problems to Ukraine.

While Shevchenko has done an incredible job with this Ukrainian team, it does still show certain flaws at times. Pretty poor throughout the first game against the Netherlands, a wonder strike from Yarmolenko and another goal got them back into the game, before losing in the dying seconds of the game. They again were pretty poor against Austria, most likely because of a lack of solution when facing a high pressing team. They did however take all three points against Macedonia with two goals from the deadly duo Yaremhuk and Yarmolenko. The attacking threat is real, with Zinchenko and Malinovskiy showing why they are playing at the very top of European football. They sometimes play uninspiring football, which could really prove to be a very boring game, but then again, both teams have difference makers in their ranks and they could certainly be the key players to unlock this cagy game. Both teams will be pushing for the next round where they could face a much more difficult opposition.

Prediction: Sweden 1-0 Ukraine