We are finally at the Quarter Final stages of Euro 2016, eight teams out of twenty four have made it this far and there have been some amazing games and massive shocks along the way.
There have been games full of goals like Hungary v Portugal and games that just were a tactical master class such as Italy v Spain, two incredibly interesting games to watch while also being so different from one another.
While the shocks of the tournament surely come from one of the dark horses before the tournament Austria finishing bottom of their group, Croatia beating Spain 2-1 and probably the biggest shock of them all happening in the last round when Iceland defeated England 2-1. Iceland have been fantastic at this tournament with their commentator going mad on television every time Iceland have scored the winning goal, and the fact that 8% of their population are there to support them, have been some of the best things about this tournament so far.
The fans have been a big part of the tournament so far and none more so than the Irish fans both from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. the Northern Irish fans were singing Will Grigg’s on fire at every match and Will Grigg never even got off the bench to play any minutes at the tournament. While everybody has probably seen all the videos on the internet of Republic of Ireland fans singing babies to sleep and serenading French women with love songs. Not only were the fans great but the teams were great as well with both Irish teams making it through their difficult groups. Northern Ireland had a great 2-0 win over Ukraine while they might have lost 1-0 in both their games to Poland and Germany, but in the Germany match Michael McGovern was amazing in goal keeping the score down to make sure Northern Ireland qualified. Their reward for qualifying was a game against Wales which they could have won had it not been for a moment of brilliance from Gareth Bale that got Wales the winner.
The Republic of Ireland had an equally tough group having only drawn 1-1 with Sweden in their opening game Ireland needed to win against Belgium or Italy to make it through to the knockout round. They got humiliated against Belgium 3-0 but then against Italy Robbie Brady popped up with a winning header in the dying minutes to make it 1-0 and to make sure Ireland qualified from the group. In their knockout game against France they couldn’t have asked for a better start winning a penalty inside two minutes and going up 1-0, but in the second half Ireland were exhausted and France tore them apart in a 10 minute spell that saw Griezmann score two goals and it also seen Shane Duffy sent off for bringing down Griezmann when he was clean through.
The tournament so far has been excellent and the games are only going to get better, the Quarter Finals kick off tonight with Poland v Portugal, Friday sees Italy v Germany, on Saturday it’s Wales v Belgium and then to round off the Quarter Finals on Sunday it is France v Iceland.