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Euro 2024 last-16: Previewing France vs Belgium and Portugal vs Slovenia

The last-16 of the European Championships continue today with two more matches to look forward to. Let’s preview the games…

euro 2024 football tournament

The last-16 of the European Championships continue today with two more matches to look forward to. Let’s preview the games…

France vs Belgium

Arguably the most highly-anticipated last-16 match at Euro 2024 takes place tonight as France take on Belgium in Dusseldorf.

France came into the tournament as one of the favourites to go all the way but they endured an underwhelming group phase. They narrowly edged out Austria 1-0 in their opening game before being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Holland on matchday 2.

Les Blues had to settle for a point once again in their final Group D game as Robert Lewandowski cancelled out Kylian Mbappe’s penalty from the spot in the 79th minute. France collected five points from their three games but they had to settle for second place as Austria topped the group on six points.

After finishing as runners-up, Didier Deschamps men have now been rewarded with a tough draw as they face-off against Belgium in the last-16. The Red Devils were also one of the pre-tournament favourites but like the French, they had to settle for finishing second in their group.

Belgium got the competition off to the worst possible start as they suffered a shock loss to Slovakia. They responded well with a solid 2-0 victory over Romania with Youri Tielemans and Kevin de Bruyne on target. However, a disappointing 0-0 draw with Ukraine in the final game meant all four teams finished on four points. Belgium progressed in second place with Romania topping Group E thanks to their superior goal difference.

France and Belgium have been familiar foes in recent years as they met in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the 2021 Nations League semi-finals, with the French progressing on both occasions.

This is expected to be another tense game between two top teams and Euro 2024 tickets for this game are in high demand. Portugal or Slovenia await the winners in the quarter-finals.

Team news

Mbappe came through 90 minutes against Poland showing no signs of discomfort from wearing his protective mask having broken his nose on matchday 2. The soon-to-be Real Madrid star is therefore is expected to start once again tonight.

Deschamps has no other injury concerns to worry about so the France boss should have a full squad to choose from. He may opt to make at least one change with Antoine Griezmann poised to return to the starting eleven after being dropped to the bench last time out.

Marcus Thuran is also pushing for a recall so we could see Ousmane Dembele and Adrien Barcola dropping to the bench.

As for Belgium, they’ll have Dodi Lukebakio available again after he served a suspension. Arsenal star Leandro Trossard’s place in the eleven could be under threat after a poor game against the Ukraine.

Axel Witsel is a doubt with an adductor injury while Thomas Meunier is also a concern with a thigh problem.

Likely France XI: Maignan; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kante, Tchouameni, Rabiot; Griezmann; Thuram, Mbappe

Likely Belgium XI: Casteels; Castagne, Faes, Vertonghen, Theate; Tielemans, Onana; Doku, De Bruyne, Carrasco; Lukaku


Belgium have struggled to score goals at the Euro’s with only Serbia [1] scoring less in the group stages. They will find it tough once again to find the back of the net against a France side who conceded just once in their three group games.

The French haven’t been at their free-scoring best either but they should still have enough quality in the final third to cause Belgium problems. It’s likely to be a cagey game but we expect France to edge it. France 1-0 Belgium

Portugal vs Slovenia

Portugal will be the red-hot favourites to reach the quarter finals when they take on Slovenia in Frankfurt on Monday night.

The Portuguese have a squad packed with quality and are many people’s favourites to reach the final third year. They got off to a good start with a 2-1 win over Czechia on matchday 1 before recording a hugely impressive 3-0 victory over Turkey to book their place in the next phase. Bernardo Silva, Samet Akaydin [OG] and Bruno Fernandes were all on target for Roberto Martinez’s men.

However, Portugal then suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Georgia in their final group game. While Martinez fielded a weakened side after resting his key players, it was still a humiliating defeat for them.

Defeat to Georgia ended their 12-game winning run so Portugal will now be looking to get back to winning ways to book their place in the last-8 with a win over Slovenia.

The Slovenians have done incredibly well to reach the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time. They were widely expected to crash out at the group stages once again, but they got an impressive 1-1 draw with Denmark in their opening game before also drawing 1-1 with Serbia.

Slovenia then booked their place in the last-16 with a 0-0 draw against England. They finished third in Group C but qualified as one of the best ‘losers’. As well as they’ve done to make it this far, they face an uphill task to get past Portugal.

Team news

Martinez is set to recall his big guns with Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha all set to return to the starting eleven after being rested against Georgia.

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to keep his place up front despite not finding the back of the net at the Euro’s yet this summer. Rafael Leao returns from suspension so he could come in to the attack for Portugal.

Ronaldo, Francisco Conceicao, Joao Palhinha, Pedro Neto and Ruben Neves are all in danger of missing the quarter-finals if they pick up a yellow card in this game.

As for Slovenia, they’ll have virtually a full squad to choose from after Tomi Horvat returned to Germany having travelled home for the birth of his daughter. Erik Janza is suspended so Jure Balkovec could come in at left-back.

Likely Portugal XI: Costa; Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Mendes; Vitinha, Palhinha, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Leao

Likely Slovenia XI: Oblak; Karnicnik, Drkusic, Bijol, Balkovec; Stojanovic, Elsnik, Gnezda Cerin, Mlakar; Sporar, Sesko


Slovenia have done well to make it through to the last-16 but they are huge underdogs in this game. Portugal have a wealth of top talent throughout their squad and should have far too much firepower for them to handle.

The Slovenian’s will set up in a tight 4-4-2 formation to frustrate Portugal, but we expect Martinez’s men to get the job done. Portugal 2-0 Slovenia

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