Top players to watch on Last 16 of Euro 2020

Memphis Depay

Netherlands had a brilliant group stage winning all three matches against Austria, Ukraine and North Macedonia and by far one of their standout players was Memphis Depay.

The former Lyon man has now signed on a free transfer to Barcelona and will line-up alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

However, he has very much been the main man for the Oranje and has the third-highest points haul after Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick of the tournament.

He has earned 20 points from the 237 minutes played, returning 2 goals and 2 assists.

Netherlands play the Czech Republic and should they win that, the winner of Wales and Denmark. Other Dutch honourable mentions include Gini Wijnaldum and Denzel Dumfries.

Karim Benzema

Going into the tournament Karim Benzema was widely expected to be the man to carry the French front line to a strong group finish.

However, he was unable to take his chances in the first two games leaving Les Bleus in peril of finishing as low as 3rd in the group, as they went into the final group match against Portugal.

However, a penalty and a fine strike from the Real Madrid man meant that Didier Deschamps team did indeed finish as group winners.

Benzema could now have come into form at the perfect time for France as they progress into the last 16. His 14 points so far in the tournament have a real chance to improve as they play Switzerland.

France would then play the winner of Spain and Croatia and with Benzema confirmed to be the nation’s penalty taker, it makes sense for him to be one of your picks.

Other notable options are the mercurial Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, who have both started with Benzema in each game.

Jack Grealish

The man who every English supporter wanted to see play in the final group match against the Czech Republic did indeed start and was pivotal in the 1-0 win for England.

Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish provided the cross for Raheem Sterling to score England the only goal of the game.

Both he and Bukayo Saka gave England much needed energy, pace and creativity. Grealish’s ability to win so many free-kicks in dangerous positions is an attribute few in the game have.

After the performance, and with Mason Mount just coming out of self-isolation, he is likely to be in with another chance to start against Germany in the last 16. Yes England have a tough opponent, but should they get past the Germans their run looks favourable with the winner of Sweden vs Ukraine waiting in the quarter-finals.

Other notable options are Harry Kane- despite his early struggles, he has always got the potential to explode and Sterling. The Manchester City man may not be the most popular amongst the fans but he is certainly the pick of Southgate at this stage.

Ciro Immobile

Italy look like one of the most threatening prospects at the whole tournament having eased their way through a group containing Wales, Switzerland and Turkey.

Euro 2020 was the first opportunity for Italian striker Ciro Immobile to stamp his authority on a major international tournament, and he has wasted little time.

2 goals, 2 assists and a bonus point for a strike outside the box has his total points on 16 from the 3 games.

Whilst an unused sub in the final match against Wales, he is now fully rested and ready to take on Austria in the last 16.

Austria have conceded 3 goals in 3 games and do look susceptible to conceding more, especially when David Alaba roams forwards out of defence.

Andrea Belotti’s show against Wales will not have convinced Roberto Mancini to drop the Lazio man and Immobile will be hoping to take the Azzurri into the quarter finals.

Lorenzo Insigne and Domenico Berardi who flank him are two other notable options from the 2006 World Cup winners.

Romelu Lukaku or Cristiano Ronaldo

Finishing off the list is yet another pair of strikers. Belgium have arguably the trickiest opposition of any of the last 16 sides in Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo will be awaiting Romelu Lukaku and co and their Serie A top scorer rivalry will recommence.

Lukaku has 3 goals in 3 games, compared to Ronaldo’s 5 (plus an assist).

Despite the odds being stacked against Ronaldo at times, he always seems to have the ability to score goals. 3 penalties this tournament and two tap ins from open play against France, Germany and Hungary show his unsurprising ability to score against anyone.

Meanwhile, Lukaku’s dominant displays have seen him bully defenders and power strikes past opposition keepers.

The choice between the two is effectively made by the decision over which side is expected to win. One can imagine whoever will come out on top will owe much to their talismanic figures.