EURO 2016 quarters picks, preview: Giants, minnows and hosts
From Thursday until Sunday we will have one quarterfinal a day at EURO 2016.
Bring it on.
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Each game in France is full of intrigue as heavyweights collide, minnows are still around and the hosts are warming up.
Let’s take a look at all four games with predictions, links to live coverage, the schedule and more below.
Poland vs. Portugal
When: Thursday, 3 p.m. ET - Live on NBCSports.com
Where: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Key Battle: Kamil Glik vs. Cristiano Ronaldo
Prediction: Portugal to win, 2-1 - I think the Ronaldo factor will just give Portugal the edge but it will be a tight game as both teams truly believe they can advance to the semifinals.
Wales vs. Belgium
When: Friday, 3 p.m. ET - Live on NBCSports.com
Where: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Key Battle: Gareth Bale vs. Toby Alderweireld
Prediction: Belgium to win 2-1 - Eden Hazard is on form and Gareth Bale can’t do it all on his own. A strong effort from Wales but Belgium will just have too much in attack.
Germany vs. Italy
When: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET - Live on NBCSports.com
Where: Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Key Battle: Mario Gomez vs. Leonardo Bonucci
Prediction: Germany to win on penalties, 2-2 AET - This is going to be tense but I think an early goal could open things up. Italy have done superbly to get this far but Germany is clicking through the gears.
France vs. Iceland
When: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET - Live on NBCSports.com
Where: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Key Battle: Blaise Matuidi vs. Gylfi Sigurdsson
Prediction: Iceland to win on PKs, 1-1 AET - Yep, I’m going with the upset. Iceland has got this far for a reason and even though the underdogs usually bow out in the quarterfinals, I think they have enough quality in attack to make the most of the sparse chances they’ll get. That, plus France has severely blown hot and cold this tournament. The dream goes on...