After two long days without football, the 2016 European Championships return today with knockout action, as the first three matches of the Round of 16 are set to be contested in Saint-Etienne, Paris and Lens. Arguably today is the weakest day of Round of 16 action, but all three matches look incredibly even on paper, and as such we could be in for three ultra-competitive games.
First up, we have the Group A runners-up, Switzerland, taking on another unbeaten side, Poland who also finished runners-up in their group despite accumulating seven points from their three matches. Poland are yet to concede a single goal this competition, a fact that becomes all the more impressive knowing that they had to contend with World champions, Germany. However, while their defense is holding firm, they are yet to get the best out of their star player, Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker is yet to score in the tournament, and if Poland wish to progress to the next round, they will be looking for Lewa to pick up his form.
Today's second game might just be the weakest of the knockout stages, as Brexiters Wales and Northern Ireland do battle at the Parc des Princes. With Wales backing the Leave vote, while Northern Ireland were one of the few regions in the UK intelligent enough to vote Remain, this game has something of a political subplot to it now, not that we'll see anything like that on the field. Northern Ireland are a bad football team, and they're facing another bad football team that at least has star players in the form of Aaron Ramsey, and Real Madrid superstar, Gareth Bale, who is currently tied as the tournament's top-scorer.
Luckily, after that "toilet break game", the action starts properly in the smallest host town of the competition, Lens. Of course, I'm talking about Croatia taking on Portugal. With a late goal on Tuesday, Croatia usurped Spain to claim top spot in Group D, and their prize was to be drawn against Portugal, who barely scraped through with three draws in three games. For Barcelona fans, this will surely be billed as Ivan Rakitic against Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, and when you put it like that, there can be no doubting who I will be rooting for when that starts at prime time.
That's our line-up for the day, stick around here to comment on all of the day's action.