Nightmare game to predict this as Low has come under considerable criticism for his team selection against France. Klostermann has been ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury and thus it seems fairly likely that Low will put Kimmich out wide again. This was very problematic in the game against France as Kimmich was not sticking to the script. He kept trying to influence the midfield battle and seemed loathe to drifting out wide. This made Germany very narrow down their right flank... reliant wholly on Gosens to provide width down the left.
Rumours indicate that Low is set to persist with the same front three from against France. This is also concerning as it lacks balance and chemistry. Gnabry the only player who can operate wide was being used as a CF. Havertz and Muller cancelled each other out and looked out of sorts having to operate out wide in such a narrow set up. Quite frankly it was a mess.
Portugal have the likes of Pereira and Carvalho in midfield who will suffocate the central spaces that Havertz and Muller like to drift into. Then they have a centre back pairing in Dias and Pepe who will marshal Gnbary well. It becomes incredibly difficult to see how Germany break through unless they use the likes of Werner and Sane to target Portugal's weakest links... their full backs. Therefore I would advocate a front three of Gnabry, Muller, Sane or Werner in this game.
As for Portugal, I think the lack of a natural holder in that German midfield makes Bruno a very important player in this game or even Felix. These two would really hurt Germany just in between their centre backs and the midfield line. Mbappe constantly got into the left half space and pulled out wide causing issues for Ginter and Kimmich .. Jota is a player of a similar tactical profile who could do the same for Portugal.
On the flip side, Portugal's ability to play on the front foot will be compromised in this game as Germany are better at pressing and are just more efficient at ball retention. Portugal may not mind that as their attack seems capable of hurting teams on the counter attack although I do think aside from Jota, they lack top end pace to really trouble that German backline.
Prediction... if Low picks a very similar line up to France, Germany could find themselves in trouble again or at best grab a draw. This result is in German hands more than it is in Portuguese hands.
Hungary proved to be a tough nut to crack for Portugal and I suspect despite the wealth of riches at Frances disposal, it might take them a while to break them down too if they do not get a goal within the first 10-20 minutes whilst the Hungarians are caught cold. If they do that, the floodgates could open otherwise a diamond formation versus a 3-5-2 and with pragmatic full backs does not suggest that it will be a fast and flowing encounter.
If France do struggle, this would be the perfect game to try out the likes of Coman and Dembele. They would help France to break down any low block and serve chances on a plate to Benzema, arguably the most complete tactical striker in world football right now. I do not see Hungary being able to hurt this French backline. It is well protected and just looks damn near impenetrable.
Prediction... France win, if they fail to score early... Expect their substitutes to run riot.
It must be so frustrating being a Spain fan. The way they dominate the game... you must always feel every encounter is in the bag and yet as the minutes fade away, that sinking feeling returns... we are just passing for fucking passing sake. Before you know it, pretty triangles turn into circles and you find yourself back at the beginning again having achieved feck all.
It was not all doom and gloom however against Sweden. Pedri looked obscenely gifted... a mixture of Isco and Iniesta. A schemer of true Barcelona heritage... he may end up becoming one of my favourite players of the modern generation. Llorente also looked very promising in the build up out there on the right... but then he tried to cross a ball and the entire facade came crashing down. What is the point of an aesthetically pleasing right back who can't actually whip a ball in? Still it is early days, he can perhaps rectify this issue.Up front Spain have to make do with the misfiring Morata. There was once upon a time where he threatened to break out into a serious player but those days are long gone and he is in many ways the Spanish Higuaín. This will prove to be their downfall and as much as I can forsee Spain grinding their way into the next round, the lack of firepower up top will kill them.
Prediction... Spain to win this. Surely Luis Enrique cannot let them fire blanks twice in a row.