The group stages of Euro 2016 are over and now the tournament begins in earnest.
We’ve had some incredible excitement – especially in the previous few evenings – and we now know the 16 countries that will compete in the knockout stages.
While the majority of groups went to plan, Group F sprung the biggest surprise with Hungary and Iceland progressing as the top-two sides ahead of Austria and Portugal.
And it’s certainly fair to say that the knockout rounds are lopsided in terms of quality.
Check out the bracket of the knockout phase below and you’ll see Germany, Italy, Spain, France and England all on the same side.
That leaves Belgium, Portugal and Croatia with an excellent chance of reaching the final.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 22, 2016
It means Roy Hodgson’s decision to make six changes for their final group match against Slovakia is looking increasingly foolish. If they had managed to win that game – rather than draw 0-0 – they would replace Wales on the left side of the bracket and be facing Northern Ireland in the last-16 avoiding the bigger nations until the final.
But now, if they beat Iceland, they will likely face France in the quarter-finals before playing either Spain, Italy, Germany or Slovakia in the semi finals.
If the Three Lions are going to end 50 years of hurt, they’re going to do it the hard way.