With the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 set to start later today, there is awe and anticipation in equal measure. We are in the exciting phase of the tournament, but the group stage was also exciting, so it’s a chance for viewers around the world.
Some of these links may seem straightforward on paper, but a handful of matches at Euro 2020 have so far not quite followed the script. Getting a draw against France and Germany isn’t something most of us would have predicted, indicating that the round of 16 could be hard to call as well.
When I watch Euro 2020 round of 16 matches, I don’t see too many games that are easy to call. It goes without saying that Portugal v Belgium and England v Germany could go either way, but I’m going to keep saying England are going to win Euro 2020 until we are eliminated!
As with some of the other games, Wales v Denmark could well end in a penalty shoot-out, while the Netherlands-Czech Republic clash is unlikely to be an easy victory for the Dutch.
The funny thing about football is that there has been a lot of talk about the momentum and regular playing time of the players before the tournament. However, Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward has been one of Euro 2020’s top scorers so far, adding value to claims that nothing is easy to call when this is the biggest scene.
This is when players can become heroes, the opportunity hardly ever gets greater than this. That said, I looked at all the teams and selected five players who could be X factors for their respective teams in the round of 16 of Euro 2020.
# 5 Marcel Sabitzer | Austria, RB Leipzig
Marcel Sabitzer is a player I have always spoken of in high regard, he has been a regular player for RB Leipzig for the past two seasons and has also shown his class in the UEFA Champions League. Austria qualifying for the knockout stages of Euro 2020 means he has the chance to prove he is one of the best players in Europe and he can do it with a great performance against the Italy.
When you talk about momentum and quality, Italy seem to be the best team in the competition right now. They have won each of their three group matches and have done so without conceding a goal. They will therefore approach the game against Austria as big favorites and with a lot of confidence.
That said, the beauty is that no one knows how they will react after conceding a goal. Italy comes on the back of 10 successive clean sheets in all competitions, but all good streaks end up coming to an end. Sabitzer has the quality of defeating the Italians, it only takes a big performance to make himself known to the wider public.
What he offers is a sort of clinical pass that attackers feed off and he’s also able to do one from a distance with a moment of magic. I watched him before the tournament and realized there was more to his game. It’s not just about getting into the rhythm and giving the assist, he’s also able to make his moves. defensive duties to stifle opposition attacks.
I’ve been watching him for a few years now and some English players have even praised his performances in the UEFA Champions League. He is at the height of his powers and is Austria’s key man. If they get a positive result against Italy, Sabitzer is likely to be involved.
# 4 Federico Chiesa | Italy, Juventus
While Marcel Sabizer is likely to be Austria’s dangerous man, Federico Chiesa is someone Italy could turn to in the round of 16 of Euro 2020 that there has been a Slow introduction of the Juventus man to the tournament.
When he gives his best, he’s a delight to watch and an absolute nightmare for defenders to face. What I love most about Chiesa is watching his reactions after a stint – there’s almost a childlike innocence about him. You can see it from his face that he can’t wait to do his best.
He is capable of winning games for his side and showed it exactly for Juventus last season, having played a central role in their quest for a place in the UEFA Champions League. He can do just about anything and is one of the many young Italian players.
Chiesa has shown flashes of his brilliance so far and is likely to have his chance in the matches to come, but it is enough to wonder if Roberto Mancini will make any changes to his starting XI who have played in the first two games. from the group stage to Euro 2020. They are in their rhythm, so it might be tempting to play on the same side and keep them going. Italy produce game after game, Mancini has the wonderful headache of picking a starting XI from a pool of talented players and keeping his team balanced.
Will Chiesa qualify for the round of 16 of Euro 2020 against Austria? Only time will tell.
Read also: Paul Merson’s predictions for the round of 16 of Euro 2020