The last 16 of Euro 2020 is upon us with eight teams filtered out of the original 24 as the knockouts begin.
All the so-called ‘big guns’ have made it through, some perhaps in a more straightforward manner than others, setting up some potentially heavyweight clashes in the latter rounds.
However, the nature of the expanded competition has provided an opportunity for more of the less fancied teams to realise their ambitions of going deep.
Euro 2020
'Ticketless, drunken thugs' could have caused death at Euro 2020 final - review
03/12/2021 AT 11:08
Fans and observers will be watching closely to see if a ‘dark horse’ can emerge to challenge the thoroughbreds, maybe not winning the race but perhaps placing at least.
Here are a look at some of the teams who might spring a surprise as the tournament resumes.


With all the talk of the so-called ‘easy’ side of the draw potentially benefiting England or Germany, whoever emerges from their clash, the rest of the teams on that side of the draw may take issue with effectively being written off before a last 16 ball is kicked.
One of those teams will be Sweden who came through after finishing top of Group E, unbeaten and ahead of Spain.
Janne Andersson’s side has both demonstrated determined defensive resolve and shown themselves to be a threat going forward through Emil Forsberg and, despite not scoring yet, the highly-rated Alexander Isak, who has shown enough quality so far not be taken lightly.
Should they get the better of Ukraine, a potential upset against England or Germany, neither of whom are without flaws, is not inconceivable.

Bale was somewhere close to his best against Turkey

Image credit: Getty Images


Despite their heroics in France to reach the semis last time around, many people still dismissed Wales ahead of this year’s competition.
This has proven to be a mistake as Robert Page has led a committed side to their second consecutive last-16 Euros appearance.
A well-drilled and well-organised side who are aware of their limitations, but have two internationally renowned stars in Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey at their disposal, will be set out to prove that lightning can strike twice.
Denmark will prove a tough test but given what we have seen from Wales in Group A, it’s unlikely they will approach the game with any fear.


Speaking of Wales’ second-round opponents, Denmark have been on an emotional roller-coaster so far this summer.
The traumatic scenes involving Christian Eriksen might have sent football to the back of their minds and few would have criticised them for or been surprised by an early exit, especially after losing their first two matches.
However, a sensational display against Russia has lifted not just the team, but an entire nation and, given the circumstances, are the neutral's choice to go far in the competition.
With the Eriksen situation potentially a galvanising force, there may even be some people thinking the Danes can summon the spirit of 1992 as they move forward. Now that would be something special.

Fan zone erupts as Denmark beat Russia 4-1 to surge into Euro 2020 last 16


Having smote original ‘dark horse’ Turkey to round off their Group A fixtures, the Swiss, perhaps through osmosis, could have inherited that tag heading into the latter rounds.
An admittedly poor performance against Italy was sandwiched between a frustrating draw with Wales and a fine win over Turkey so it’s difficult to tell which Switzerland will show up for the daunting tie with France.
However, if they can put in the same kind of performance they did in their final group game against the world champions who have yet to really find some form in the tournament, an upset could be on the cards - especially with tournament goalscoring specialist Xherdan Shaqiri among their ranks.
Of course, being on the ‘hard’ side of the draw means more tough tests await but the galvanising effect of a win over France could work wonders.

Shaqiri hizo un doblete en el Suiza-Turquía

Image credit: Getty Images

Czech Republic

Defeat against England perhaps showed they are not quite up there with their 2004 and even 1996 vintage but showed glimpses of quality and organisation that could take them far.
Against Croatia and Scotland, they hardly dominated but were able to eke out the required results to ultimately seal their qualification.
Despite their Wembley loss, the Czechs have shown they aren’t to be taken lightly and will punish you even if given the slightest opportunity – take Patrik Schick’s stunner against Scotland, for example.
They face the Dutch in the last 16 who have impressed so far but are not unbeatable and could be caught short by a team as canny as the Czechs if not careful.
Euro 2020
England hit with Wembley ban after crowd trouble at Euro 2020 final
18/10/2021 AT 08:51
Euro 2020
Twitter reveals scale of racism in UK after England Euro 2020 final defeat
10/08/2021 AT 13:27