Euro 2020: The round of 16 and the players to watch

It's time for the most intense part of any football tournament, the knockout rounds. We've taken a look at the players to keep a keen eye on.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 25th Jun 2021

As we progress in the Euro's, it's finally time for the most exciting and excruciating time of the tournament, the knockout rounds. Here we'll see who can best each other over 90 minutes, extra time or even the dreaded penalties. It's a time where anything can happen, a stupid shove in the back whilst in the box or an overeager tackle can flip the script at any moment.

That's the beauty of the game, the romantic idea that the underdog can uproot a favourite, the anticipation that anything could happen. So many teams are looking like strong candidates and this could lead to one of the most exciting knockout stages we've had at the tournament in some time. We've taken a look at each team that has made it through the group stage and identified the key players to watch in the next round.

 

Italy

Players to watch: Ciro Immobile, Manuel Locatelli, Leonardo Spinazzolla

Let's be honest it's a little bit frightening to watch Italy at the moment. After successfully qualifying after two games, their second team looked relatively at ease against Wales. They blew away both Switzerland and Turkey in their first two games, with a fluidity, togetherness and tempo that could not be matched.

Manuel Locatelli produced a stunning all-around performance against Switzerland, with two goals, one being a sweeping move he started off himself with a first time volleyed pass out to Berardi, with Locatelli impressively following his run all the way into the box to cooly finish. It summed up an Italian link that seems almost telepathic. Add to that the pure firepower of Ciro Immobile who is thriving at Lazio and the unpredictable workhorse that is Leonardo Spinazolla and they're looking like contenders. 

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Italy V Austria on June 26th at Phase One in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Round of 16 Italy vs Austria

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Wales

Players to watch: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Keifer Moore

We British may not admit it but it's nice to see Wales do well. They fully deserved their qualification to their round after battling hard against Switzerland and impressively beating a Turkey team who were initially one of the favourites to go through. Team spirit seems high and they've shown themselves to be battlers. Exemplified by Gareth Bale's refusal to keep the ball in the corner against Turkey and instead surprise them by running into the box and assisting Connor Roberts for their second goal.

Aaron Ramsey's smash and grab run in behind during the same game was a move of incredibly high quality. He looks to be in good form just as he was during their last Euro's tournament. Keifer Moore is typifying Wales' hard work approach with his defensive work at corners and at the other end winning the ball well whilst using his strength to hold up play and allow Wales to move up the pitch. Wales are not to be underestimated.

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Wales V Denmark at Phase One in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Wales vs Denmark

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Netherlands

Players to watch: Denzel Dumfries, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum

The Netherlands were a little bit of an unknown quantity going into the tournament, missing a key leader in Virgil Van Dijk. Yet in his absence, Wijnaldum has stepped up and put in worthy displays as captain. Playing a completely different role to his disciplined approach at Liverpool he has chipped in with a few goals and has been key in leading the team up the pitch.

Denzel Dumfries keeps making dangerous runs into the opposition box from his fullback position and has managed to get himself a couple of goals. His performances are so impressive that he's been linked with Bayern Munich. Memphis Depay dispatched a penalty against Austria and should have had another goal, it feels as though we haven't seen the best yet of the Barcelona man and there's an even higher level that he can reach.

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Netherlands V Czech Republic on June 27th at Phase One in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Round of 16 Netherlands vs Czech Republic

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Belgium

Players to watch: Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Youri Tielemans

It's not too much of a surprise that Belgium came through as group winners after all they are the #1 ranked team in the world. Romelu Lukaku has been a huge part of this and has always thrived in the national team and he's having a huge impact on this tournament already with his finishing and unstoppable running power. 

There were fears that Kevin De Bruyne would not recover from injury in time but he came on at halftime against Denmark to deliver a world-class cameo to seal the three points. Within a talented midfield also lies Youri Tielemans who you may remember scored a screamer in the FA cup final. They'll be hoping for something similar in the knockout stages.

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Belgium V Portugal on June 27th at Phase One in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Round of 16 Belgium vs Portugal

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Denmark

Players to watch: Kasper Schmeichel, Mikkel Damsgaard, Pierre- Emile Hojbjerg

Against all the odds and after the shocking Christian Eriksen incident, Denmark put Russia to the sword in order to secure a place in the next round. It was the least they deserved after pushing Belgium all the way, the squad has a renewed sense of togetherness and you can clearly see that in their performances. 

Kasper Schmeichel is a key leader on the pitch and a vastly experienced international whilst at the other end you have exciting young attacker Mikkel Damsgaard whose curled finish against Russia was a thing of beauty. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg looks impervious in an 8 role in midfield, his hardworking tenacity and love of a tackle now with more attacking impetus. It's hard to stop a team that seem so in sync at the moment.

 

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England 

Players to watch: Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Reece James

It's coming home? Let's not tempt fate, but England have put some solid displays in during the group stage even if they were pushed all the way by Scotland. You cannot argue with three straight clean sheets however and that's a huge positive going forward. One player that has dragged us through is Raheem Sterling, recovering from a down season at Manchester City to find his goalscoring boots just at the right time.

There's surely more to come from Jack Grealish who will at the very least win free-kick after free-kick as he's almost untouchable. His assist against Czech Republic was the extra bit of quality needed. Also keep an eye out for Reece James should Southgate choose to use him as his electric pace and crossing will surely frighten opposition full-backs. 

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of England V Germany on June 29th at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester here:

Ticket waiting list for England vs Germany - Uefa Euro Live Screening

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Croatia

Players to watch: Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Mateo Kovacic

It felt as though it took a little while for Croatia to enter the tournament with them unable to find a breakthrough against England and a winner against Czech Republic. Against Scotland they demonstrated their class however with Luka Modric still proving influential for them and even chipping in with a goal too.

Ivan Perisic is also getting on a bit now but don't tell him that. He's as fired up and as much of a pain for defenders as he's always been. Whilst it still seems almost impossible to get the ball off of Mateo Kovacic who controls the play in the middle of the park like he has the ball superglued to his foot. 

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Croatia V Spain on June 28th at Phase One in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Round of 16 Croatia vs Spain

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Spain

Players to watch: Ferran Torres, Gerard Moreno, Koke

It looked as though Spain were at real risk of being knocked out of the group stages but they finally found their shooting boots against Slovakia even if they were given a few gifts. When Alvaro Morata isn't missing absolute sitters, at least they have Manchester City wide man Ferran Torres chip in with some goals, his delightful flick against Slovakia was his first touch and was an example of a player never short of confidence.

Gerard Moreno scored an impressive 23 goals in La Liga this season and helped Villareal to secure the Europa League title by beating Manchester United in the final. His movement has impressed in the tournament so far and there's a good chance he'll get on the scoresheet soon. Koke is the ever-dependable presence in the heart of their midfield, a natural leader he took Atletico Madrid to La Liga glory this season and can always be relied upon.

 

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Sweden

Players to watch: Emil Forsberg, Sebastian Larsson, Alexander Isak

Sweden were in full control of Group E and it never really looked in doubt that they would qualify. Their defence has looked solid and the last game against Poland was their most attacking display so far. Emil Forsberg nipped in with two goals and always looks like one of their best attacking threats. 

I had to Google that Sebastian Larsson was still playing when I saw his name on the starting lineup for their first game and sure enough the former Birmingham and Sunderland man is still going and seems to have all the energy in the world, he's an absolute engine. Alexander Isak has perhaps been their most exciting player and his skilful runs have caught the eye, especially when he was bamboozling Spanish defenders. It looks as though he's capable of running through full teams.

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of Sweden V Ukraine (and also the England game) on June 29th at Camp and Furnace in Liverpool here:

Ticket waiting list for Euros Fanpark - ENG v GER & SWE v UKR

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Czech Republic

Players to watch: Patrick Shick, Vladimir Coufal, Tomas Kalas

Patrick Shick's goal against Scotland was a thing of beauty, the awareness to see that David Marshall was off his line and then the technique to lob him from halfway down the pitch was exquisite. Even better was the way that the Scotland keeper got tangled in the net as a result. The Czech Republic haven't always caught the eye but they've certainly had their moments.

With Shick being their talisman, he brought them through a tough group. Equally impressive were the performances of Vladimir Coufal who had a very good debut season at West Ham and has continued that form into this tournament. Tomas Kalas, the former Chelsea player has also been influential in organising their resolute defence.

 

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Austria

Players to watch: David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic, Marcel Sabitzer

This is the first time Austria have been at successive European Championships in their entire history. Their key player is undoubtedly David Alaba who has won it all at club level with Bayern Munich and will hope to repeat that at his new club Real Madrid. An adaptable player he can play almkst anywhere on the pitch. He's mainly played in the heart of defence so far though which has been a little disappointing as his intelligence could be used up top.

Marko Arnautovic is a thorn in the side of any defence and will be seeking to annoy throughout the entire 90 minutes. Marcel Sabitzer will be trying to put it on a plate for him and has an eye for a goal himself especially if given too much time on the edge of the box.

 

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Portugal

Players to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota, Renato Sanchez

This is the Cristiano Ronaldo show, the holder of the most goals in the Euros he's smashing records all the time and scores goals for fun even when his team isn't performing. No one needs to be told how good he is and his domination of this Portugal side since he got his first start has been mightily impressive.

Running support has been Diogo Jota who had an impressive first season at Liverpool, the only thing missing from his performances so far have been goals, but his running in behind always scares the opposition. Renato Sanchez excelled against France, dominating a midfield that included N'golo Kante and Paul Pogba. He towered above them and is surely a must start for Portugal in the next round.

 

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France

Players to watch: Kylian Mbappe, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema

France are one of the favourites and its hard not to imagine why. Kylian Mbappe gives defenders nightmares, his electrifying pace has been tearing up the French league since he was as young as 17. The thing is it still feels as though he can go up another level in this tournament. Real Madrid man Karim Benzema is back in the national side for the first time in years and has repaid his inclusion into the squad.

Now on two goals, he is on fire and it never looks like he's going to miss. As for N'Golo Kante there couldn't be a more reliable midfielder. A man of the match performance in the champions final another accolade on the world cup winner's long list. He's probably the best holding midfielder in the world.

 

You can book tickets to see a screening of France V Switzerland at Phase One in Liverpool on June 28th here:

Ticket waiting list for Euro 2020 Round of 16 France vs Switzerland

Tickets you want not available? We know it's frustrating, but don't worry we've got your back. Join the waiting list below and we'll reserve you tickets if they become available.

 

 


Switzerland

Players to watch: Xherdan Shaqiri, Breel Embolo, Granit Xhaka

Through as one of the best third-place teams, Switzerland have been indebted to Xherdan Shaqiri who has popped up with crucial and impressive goals. He hasn't had as many appearances at Liverpool as he would have liked this season and his performances will be alerting lots of clubs to his qualities.

Breel Embolo is also a threat upfront and is especially dangerous from set-pieces as he has a great leap. He'll be hoping that Granit Xhaka can find hie from a free-kick, the polarising Arsenal player a key figure for the Swiss and always capable of finding the top corner from a free-kick.

 

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Germany

Players to watch: Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz, Leon Goretzka

Germany will be playing England in the next round which is always good fun. There were a few doubts over what people saw as a slightly weaker German side coming into the tournament but they still finished second in the group of death. Kai Havertz popped up with a couple of crucial goals and it looks like he's finding his rhythm again after a mixed first season at Chelsea.

The ever-reliable Joshua Kimmich has been playing well at right-back, being a solid defender and just as much of an attacking threat. Leon Goretzka is now back to full fitness and seems to get even better when he's playing for his national side and has a great scoring record for a central midfielder. 

 

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 Ukraine

Players to watch: Andriy Yarmolenko, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskyi

Ukraine have made it through a difficult group and have definitely provided entertainment so far. One highlight being Andriy Yarmolenko's left-footed curler into the top corner against the Netherlands. It seems as though nobody learns to show him onto his right foot instead.

Oleksandr Zinchenko takes on quite a different role for his national side than his left-back position at Manchester City. Moving into the centre of the pitch he becomes a midfield leader and takes on a lot more responsibility. Ukraine also have a set-piece threat provided by Ruslan Malinovskyi who plays for the impressive Atlanta side in Serie A. 

 

 



 Has all the excitement of the football got you wondering what else is out there? Then make sure you check out our What's On Guide to see amazing festivals, theatre shows and more.

 

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