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Opinion

The Roar's Euro 2020 expert tips and predictions Match Day 3 (part four)

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Expert
22nd June, 2021
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Match Day 3 of Euro 2020 comes to an end this evening with four matches to decide the fate of those contending in groups E and F.

All of the eight countries involved are in contention for a spot in the knockout phase and the evening stands to be one of high tension.

Sweden and France hold a slim advantage in their respective groups, yet Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Portugal will all be looking to throw a spanner in the works and turn both groups into nail biting affairs.

Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say in the voice of the crowd – a voice that currently leads The Roar tipping for Euro 2020.

Mike Tuckerman
Draw, Spain, France, Germany

Sweden only need to avoid defeat to progress to the knockout stages, while Poland have no chance unless they claim all three points. The Swedes huffed and puffed to their 1-0 victory over Slovakia and haven’t exactly set the tournament alight so far. Poland needed Spain to miss a penalty to claim a point in their most recent clash and while Robert Lewandowski remains a genuine threat in attack, I reckon Sweden will dig in and claim the point they need in Saint Petersburg.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is one of the world’s top strikers. (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Spain’s lack of cutting edge was summed up by Gerard Moreno clattering his penalty against the post in their 1-1 draw with Poland, and Alvaro Morata’s inability to tap home the rebound won’t have gone down well with his numerous critics. About the only reason the Spaniards will go into this clash as favourites is simply because they have a vastly superior squad, although the fact this game will once again take place in Seville also helps. The Spaniards should win it… but only just.

France are out to avenge that Euro 2016 defeat to Portugal and will be on the warpath in Budapest. Coach Didier Deschamps could make changes to his midfield, but whoever starts for Les Bleus will want to see them top the group. Portugal looked decidedly second-best in their 4-2 defeat to Germany and could find themselves at the mercy of one of international football’s most formidable attacks. While the Portuguese are a talented team in their own right, it’s hard to look past a France win in this one.

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After plenty had written them off, including myself, Germany turned around and ripped Portugal to shreds. The one thing Die Mannschaft has that other nations don’t is a seemingly endless production line of talent, as Atalanta midfielder Robin Gosens just proved in spades. Watching Hungary run out in front of raucous crowds in Budapest has been fun to watch, but they’ll find a trip to Munich a different prospect. Germany should win this game fairly comfortably.

Stuart Thomas
Sweden, Spain, France, Germany

Sweden will go in as strong favourites against Poland and their form has shaded their opposition to this point in the tournament. Saying that, there is little conviction behind that belief and if the Swedes are to get the win it will probably be by just the single goal. A close one.

If Spain fall to Slovakia they will have redressed into the team that promised so much for so many years yet failed to deliver anything at all. They should be able to handle the Slovaks. If not, one of the stories of the tournament could be about to be written by the outsiders appearing in the round of 16.

Portugal and France could be a belter or a dud, depending on how the teams choose to approach the match. A point each should see both through, a French win potentially eliminates the reigning champs and a Portuguese triumph is likely to send them to the top of the group. I’ll tip France based on nothing more than class itself.

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Despite all of Hungary’s heroics Germany should have their measure in this one, based on the performance they produced against Portugal just a few days ago. What a group this is and part of me hopes the Hungarians win just the throw the entire thing into absolute chaos.

Texi Smith
Sweden, Spain, draw, Germany

The coming of age of Alexander Isak will be today as Sweden come up against a capable Poland team looking to overhaul them in a closely packed Group E. Sweden scraped through their last game with Slovakia and it will be a similar game in St Petersburg.

Plenty of possession for the Swedes, Poland always dangerous on the break. Robert Lewandowski will be marked out of the game though, at least giving Piotr Zielinski more time to be creative, but a resolute Sweden will weather the storm and come away with an impressive win. Isak’s run and finish after being released by Seb Larsson will be all over socials the following day, and he will be hot property after claiming the only goal of the game.

This is it – make or break for Spain as they go in search of a win to qualify for the round of 16. The Spanish have endured the ignominy of exiting in the group stages before in both Euros and World Cups, but these early exits seem to alternate with winning the tournament. Two outrageous draws on home soil where Spain have had more than three quarters of possession and out-shot their opponents by 3-1 will weigh heavily on the minds of the fans and the players.

Slovakia will be good with a point, but will come out firing and take the game to the home team instead of trying to soak up 90 minutes of pressure. That will be successful for the first 30 minutes until Spain are gifted a penalty for a handball and take a lead in at halftime. The second half will be end to end, both teams romping forward, but it will be Spain who get the vital second late on through talented youngster Pedri and take the three points, turning ‘what a disaster’ into ‘never in doubt, what were you worried about’. Unlucky for Slovakia, but the right result.

France have already qualified, but how much do they want to finish top of their group and face the Swiss. And how much do they want to make a statement by beating Portugal? And if they do, how many goals would it take to knock Portugal out?

After Portugal were undone against Germany, it’s difficult to see how they’re going to go any better against a rampant French team, but stranger things have happened. A gritty performance from Portugal will see them dig in and turn around an early Paul Pogba strike to equalise by halftime through a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.

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Portugal’s Danilo Pereira will strike a fantastic goal on the hour to raise the roof, but France will be patient and Lucas Digne will rifle home from a great move to set up a grandstand finish. No further goals means that both teams qualify, but France may rue the result coming into the knockout phase.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Hungary were amazing against the French, helped by their crazed fans who roared them on. This time though, with Germany having shaken off Portugal and taken control of their own destiny, there is only one winner. A performance of ruthless efficiency will see the Germans ease into a one-goal lead at the break, Toni Kroos with a cool finish to a well worked team goal. The second half will be all Germany and nerves will be jangling as they continue to pass up opportunities of a second goal. Hungary will be run into the ground but will always have a chance on the break.

In the end, a solitary goal will be enough to send Hungary out and give a relieved Germany their safe passage out of the group stage.

Pablo Bateson
Spain, draw, Germany, France

Spain needs to win for progression to the Round of 16 and they should achieve this on home turf in the warm conditions forecast. Such an outcome will require being far more clinical against a well organised Slovakian side.

The latter carved out a backs-to-the-wall draw in similar circumstances of a final group game at Euro 2016. They are likely to this approach in Seville with the aim of clinging on to second spot on the table.

Sweden has the depth, experience and recent consistent form to give confidence that they will get the required result to finish either first or second in the group. Poland depends so much on how well star striker and captain Lewandowski performs, and over the past seven months they have been highly vulnerable defensively.

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The weather is likely to be warm and sticky from kick off time in St Petersburg and in a tight affair I’m expecting Sweden to hold firm.

Germany showed against Portugal they still have the right stuff when it counts. Hungary demonstrated great resilience to thwart France and yet it is highly unlikely they’ll be able to back up with a similar performance, let alone secure the necessary win.

Anything less than a comfortable victory for the home side will be a major surprise, as a knock-out stage appearance beckons for the fourth consecutive time at Euro finals.

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The clash between the reigning world champions and the Euro title holders has mouth-watering prospects.

France has not yet got into top gear, including an underwhelming last game effort. This will be an opportunity to produce their best and if that happens then Portugal will make an early exit from the competition.

As much as anything, the mind games will be such that captain extraordinaire Cristiano Ronaldo must produce his own best, including a goal, combined with the necessary leadership.

So far for Les Bleus, young star Kylian Mbappe has failed to find the net across the opening two matches. I’m reasonably confident he will correct this and propel France to success.

Match Day 3 Mike Stuart Texi Pablo The Crowd
CRO vs SCO SCO SCO CRO CRO CRO
CZE vs ENG Draw ENG ENG ENG ENG
SWE vs POL Draw SWE SWE Draw ?
SVK vs ESP ESP ESP ESP ESP ?
POR vs FRA FRA FRA Draw FRA ?
GER vs HUN GER GER GER GER ?
Previous total 17 16 18 15 18
Yesterday 0 1 2 2 2
New total 17 17 20 17 20
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