Picking a winner for Euro 2016 is challenging task, as so far no side has proved themselves worthy of the title. Hosts France, who are favourites for most, have been far from spectacular. It still appears manager Didier Deschamps is yet to find his best XI.
Following their 3-0 win over Turkey, Spain looked like the outstanding candidate. However, defeat to Croatia has shown vulnerability when faced against a fellow contender. Next up, they face a difficult test against Italy.
The Italians have surprised most at the tournament. Following their 2-0 win over Belgium in the opening group stage, they looked a real contender for the title. But, a defeat to Ireland in their final group stage game perhaps shows there is not enough strength in depth to win the title.
World Cup holders Germany are another logical choice for the title. They sailed through the group with seven points from nine and have yet to concede a goal in the tournament. In the round of 16 they face Slovakia, a game most will expect them to breeze through.
Despite all of this, there is something lacking from Germany. Two years ago in Brazil, there was sense of drive about the side. They looked like a determined side prepared to do anything for that title. This year they look like a side that might just keel over if faced against an opponent that challenges their authority.
After a disastrous start, Belgium head into the knockout stages with momentum following back-to-back wins over Ireland and Sweden. In the defeat to Italy they looked a far cry from a side ranked as the number one team in Europe. They recovered from that set back and put two solid performances to book their place in knockout stage. In the round of 16, they take on Hungary who have surprised most by reaching this stage of the tournament.
With no team making an outstanding claim for the title, the chance of another ‘Greece’ type outcome is becoming more likely. With Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale in form, Wales have a decent chance of overcoming the odds.
After winning Group B, they find themselves on the good side of the draw with Croatia the best side they could face en route to the final. If they were to defeat Northern Ireland in the round of 16, it seems likely they would face Belgium. Given their performance against Belgium in the qualifiers, it is not ridiculous to suggest they could make their way into the semi-finals.
Similarly to Wales, Portugal are another side that could march through the tournament on the back of their star man. In the opening two group games, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to turn up. But, two goals in the 3-3 draw with Hungary has marked his arrival at the tournament. They face a tough test against Croatia in the round of 16, who have all the attributes to win the title. If it is a close game though, Portugal have the one player that can swing it in their favour.