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UEFA Euro 2024 Round Of 16 || England vs Slovakia | Spain vs Georgia || Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs

Rahul Saha Rahul Saha

Day 16 of UEFA Euro 2024 have two pre-tournament favourites in action.

Euro 2020 runners-up England will be hoping to get their mojo back against a spirited Slovakia, while one of the best performing teams in the tournament, Spain, will be looking to avoid a potential banana skin against first-timers Georgia, who have already defied everybody’s expectations. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the second day of the Euro 2024 Round of 16 has in store for us.  

Euro 2024 Round of 16 | England vs Slovakia | 9:30 pm IST | June 30

While England come into the Round of 16 having topped Group C, their performances have been far from convincing. Arguably the biggest underperformers of the tournament thus far, the Three Lions have looked lethargic, uncoordinated, and, at times, frankly incompetent. 

A significant portion of the criticism revolves around Gareth Southgate’s team selections. The midfield balance has been a particular point of concern, while their lack of a genuine left-back has meant their right-heavy lop-sided attack hasn’t been effective. These problems have persisted longer than many believe they should have, further fuelling the negativity around Southgate’s management.

In stark contrast, Slovakia have had an impressive tournament, defying expectations to qualify from Group E. They finished third with four points from three games, an outcome few had predicted. Slovakia have proven to be a competent outfit, capable of causing significant problems for their opponents.

As England prepare to take on Slovakia in the Round of 16, the stakes could not be higher. For them, this match represents an opportunity to silence critics, restore confidence, and progress further into a tournament they are expected to win. Slovakia, meanwhile, will be aiming to continue their impressive run and claim another memorable scalp.

Team News 

Luke Shaw has “declared himself fit” for this encounter, meaning England have no injuries or suspensions coming into this game. Shaw could play a part, and if he does, it will likely be from the bench. In midfield, Conor Gallagher is likely to lose his spot in the playing XI, with Kobbie Mainoo the main contender to take his place. Phil Foden had travelled back to the UK earlier this week for the birth of his child, though he returned on Thursday night and could be in contention for a starting spot. 

Slovakia, on the other hand, are likely to remain unchanged from their game against Romania, with David Strelec keeping Róbert Boženík on the bench.

Form Guide

England 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): D-D-W-L-W
Most recent result: England 0-0 Slovenia, Euro 2024 Group C
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group C with 20 points

Slovakia 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): D-L-W-W-W
Most recent result: Slovakia 1-1 Romania, Euro 2024 Group E 
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group J with 22 points.

Prediction 

England are coming into this game as heavy favourites, and while they’ve not been the most convincing team in the group stage, this is still a game they should win.

England’s creative problems are well-publicised. However, for all their struggles going forward, the team have been pretty watertight defensively, conceding a total xGA of 1.1, the lowest in the entire tournament. Slovakia, by comparison, have been a lot more leaky. 

England have match winners all over the park, so while they may not deliver a scintillating performance, they should have enough to come through here.

England 1-0 Slovakia

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Martin Dúbravka
Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Marc Guéhi
Midfielders: Juraj Kucka, Ondrej Duda, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham
Forwards: Lukáš Haraslín, Harry Kane
Captain: Bukayo Saka
Vice-captain: Kyle Walker 

Also watch: Should Cristiano Ronaldo start for Portugal in the knockout stages of Euro 2024?

Euro 2024 Round of 16 | Spain vs Georgia | 12:30 am IST | July 1

Spain have arguably been the standout team of Euro 2024 so far, finishing top of Group B with a perfect record of three wins from three matches. Under the guidance of manager Luis de la Fuente, they have showcased an evolved style of play that is markedly different from the Spain teams of the recent past. 

Gone is the excessive tiki-taka style that sometimes led to sterile domination. Instead, this Spain team are more direct, utilising the pace and skill of their wingers to great effect. This approach has paid dividends, making La Roja a formidable attacking force.

On the other side, Georgia’s journey to the Round of 16 has been nothing short of remarkable. Finishing third in Group F with four points, they have defied expectations and emerged as one of the most entertaining teams in the tournament. This is their first appearance at a major tournament as an independent nation, and their performances have been a breath of fresh air. 

When it comes to head-to-head encounters, Spain have had the upper hand over Georgia. The two teams faced each other in the qualifiers for this tournament, with Spain winning both matches convincingly by the scorelines of 7-1 and 3-1. In fact, Spain have won all of the last four meetings between the two sides. This historical dominance gives Spain a psychological edge going into the match.

Team News 

De la Fuente will be reverting back to the same playing XI that started the game against Italy, with Aymeric Laporte starting at the heart of the defence and Nacho Fernández likely having to settle for a place on the bench.

Likewise, Georgia have no injuries or suspensions to deal with and should stick with the same line-up that beat Portugal last time out.

Form Guide

Spain

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-W-W-W
Most recent result: Albania 0-1 Spain, Euro 2024 Group B 
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group A with 21 points

Georgia

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-D-L-W-W
Most recent result: Georgia 2-0 Portugal, Euro 2024 Group F
European Qualifying: Through the Euro 2024 qualifying play-off

Prediction 

Despite Georgia’s heroics so far in this competition, Spain are just better than them in almost every facet and metric. They have the fourth-highest expected goals rate of any side at the tournament (1.82 per game) despite having competed in arguably the toughest group.

Moreover, Spain have already hammered Georgia twice during the qualifying stages for this competition, while Georgia currently have got the worst expected goals against stats in the tournament (2.68 per game). I expect another comfortable win for Spain here. 

Spain 3-1 Georgia 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Giorgi Mamardashvili 
Defenders: Marc Cucurella, Dani Carvajal, Aymeric Laporte, Guram Kashia
Midfielders: Giorgi Kochorashvili, Fabián Ruiz, Pedri, Lamine Yamal 
Forwards: Georges Mikautadze, Álvaro Morata
Captain: Álvaro Morata 
Vice-captain: Fabián Ruiz 

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UEFA Euro 2024 Round Of 16 || England vs Slovakia | Spain vs Georgia || Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs
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Rahul Saha

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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