Hungary, Portugal, Iceland, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland became the last teams to book their spots in the next round of UEFA Euro 2016, as Groups E and F wrapped up on Wednesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Portugal's 3-3 draw against group winners Hungary, while Arnor Ingvi Traustason handed Iceland the 2-1 win over Austria. Radja Nainggolan scored Belgium's only goal against Sweden, and Robbie Brady did the same for Ireland against Italy.
Portugal will face Croatia in the next round, while Hungary take on Belgium. England will go up against Iceland, and Ireland also advance as one of the best third-place finishers, booking a meeting with hosts France.
Here's a look at the final standings for each Euro 2016 group:
|Euro 2016 Group Stage: Final Standings|
|3||Republic of Ireland||3||1||1||1||2||2||0||4|
The fixture list for the round of 16, complete with predictions:
|June 25||Wales||Northern Ireland||1-0|
|June 26||France||Republic of Ireland||2-1|
|June 27||Italy||Spain||1-2 (after ET)|
Fans and pundits alike probably didn't expect to find so many favourites for the title to end up on the same side of the bracket, but after a handful of upsets in the group stages, the road to the final has now become a lot less clear for several teams.
The one round-of-16 clash most neutral fans will be looking forward to is the match on Monday between Italy and Spain—two teams who made the final four years ago. Copa90 is more than excited:
Italy locked up the top spot in Group E after just two matches, allowing manager Antonio Conte to give several players less playing time or rest them altogether against Ireland. The Azzurri starters have played some solid football, and Spain will not be looking forward to this encounter.
Even if Vicente del Bosque's men make it past their rivals, the road to the final will still be treacherous, and the Spain manager revealed to reporters that La Roja had hoped not to end up on this side of the bracket, per the Press Association (via ITV Sport):
We're still in the competition, we are not on the path we wanted to be but we have to rise to the situation.
It's a game it looked like we had under control. We will try and recover as well as possible from this setback and be in as good condition as possible on Monday.
Even today we didn't play badly but this is the result and we need to prepare to play against Italy. The players were sat in silence. They don't enjoy losing.
The Italians have been the best defensive side in the tournament so far. While they don't create many chances, Conte's troops can do some real damage on the counter-attack and on set pieces—two areas where Spain struggle.
If La Roja do make it past Italy, world champions Germany will likely be waiting in the quarter-finals. France and England are possibilities in the semi-finals.
Ronaldo scored twice to lead Portugal to the next round, as their 3-3 draw against Hungary means they'll meet Croatia in the next round. Traustason's last-second goal in the win over Austria saw Iceland pass the Portuguese in the standings, setting up a match against England in the process.
BBC's Match of the Day pundits were happy with the result:
Croatia have impressed so far this tournament, and while Portugal finally showed their offensive potential against Hungary, their defence again looked shaky. Iceland have been the exact opposite so far, and while England are the obvious favourites in this matchup, the Three Lions have struggled against teams who sit back and rely on the counter-attack.
In Group E, Belgium struggled to break down Sweden, but they did enough to secure the 1-0 win and second place in Group E. On paper, their route to the final is much easier than Italy's, as they'll take on Hungary in the round of 16 and then meet Wales or Northern Ireland if they win that match.
While the Red Devils have been far from their best, they're arguably the favourites in their side of the bracket and won't meet a perceived elite team until the semi-finals. For coach Marc Wilmots' team, it's the perfect scenario after their nightmare start against Italy.