The Euro 2016 Round of 16 has come to a close after a series of thrilling matches, and now only eight teams remain in the heated race for European glory. The FutbolPulse team comes together yet again to bring you their ‘Best XI’ from the fourth matchday of the competition. Here is the FutbolPulse Writers’ Euro 2016 Team of the Round of 16, along with a short recap of each player’s achievements in the past matchday.
Gianluigi Buffon (Spain)
The Juventus veteran asserted his authority in goal, coming up big when called to action by the Spanish attack. Had a pretty quiet first half in terms of saves, but did exceptionally well to deny Gerard Piqué and others in the latter stages of the match.
Jérôme Boateng (Germany)
A fantastic match all-around for the Bayern defender. Remained reliable and consistent in defense while recording a very high 86% passing accuracy. His distribution of long balls, of which he completed 11, was particularly impressive and integral to the Germans’ attacking efforts. Scored a thunderous strike on the 8th minute for his first international goal and to open the scoring against Slovakia.
Ragnar Sigurðsson (Iceland)
The shining star for Iceland in their spectacular 2-1 upset over England. Defensively solid throughout the match, winning a number of important tackles and clearances. Scored the equalizing goal just moments after Wayne Rooney converted his penalty on the 4th minute, and almost completed a brace with a bicycle kick that Joe Hart just managed to save.
Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
Scored the opener against defending Euro champions Spain and remained defensively solid throughout the match. Restless in defense – winning a number of clearances and important duels – while also making accurate passes from out the back to supply the midfield and front line. Pounced on De Gea’s punched save from close range on the 33rd minute to open the scoring for Italy.
Julian Draxler (Germany)
Easily the man of the match for Germany as they routed Slovakia 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals. Displayed incredible footwork and vision on multiple occasions throughout the match. Dribbled impressively past the Slovakian defense on the left flank to find space and assist Gómez for the second goal of the match, before grabbing the third with a volley on the 63rd minute.
Radja Nainggolan (Belgium)
Solid in both attack and defense for Belgium as they thrashed Hungary 4-0 to advance to the quarter-finals. Had some great distribution throughout the match, finishing with an 86% pass accuracy. Worked tirelessly in the middle of the pitch as always.
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
De Bruyne continued his fantastic group stage form in Belgium’s victory over Hungary. Was a consistent threat to the Hungarian back line, completing a total of four key passes by the match’s end. The Manchester City #10 assisted the opener after finding Alderweirald’s head with pinpoint accuracy before assisting Hazard’s goal on the 80th minute to make it 3-0.
Toni Kroos (Germany)
The star man in midfield for the Germans. Kroos racked up nearly 100 passes throughout the duration of the match, along with an astonishing 91% pass accuracy. The Real Madrid midfielder was the engine to every attacking effort for Germany.
Eden Hazard (Belgium)
The Chelsea man looked a shadow of his 2015-2016 self as he put in a beautiful performance for the Red Devils. Won close to every duel and dribble, while also finishing with a 90% pass accuracy. Hazard was integral in the build up to Batshuayi’s goal to make it 2-0, and soon after scored one for himself to make it 3-0.
Graziano Pellè (Italy)
The great control and awareness displayed by the Southampton striker was a nuisance to the Spanish back line. Won the free kick that resulted in Italy’s first goal of the match, and later bagged one for himself after capitalizing on a Darmian cross to seal the victory in stoppage time.
Antoine Griezmann (France)
Griezmann’s performance was arguably the only positive in an otherwise disappointing display by France in their 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland. The Atlético Madrid man single-handedly changed the momentum of the match after scoring on the 58th minute with his head and again on the 61st minute with a composed finish past Randolph.