Premier League

The most exciting Euro 2024 last 16 ties

England v Slovenia - EURO 2024

Euro 2024 kicked off with a bang as the first round of group stage fixtures brought about unrelenting excitement.

However, as the group stages wore on, the drawbacks of a 24-team tournament started to manifest.

With teams well aware that a three or four-point haul would be enough to advance, dreary possession vs compact mid/low-blocks became a recurring theme. Inferior nations were, understandably, content with draws, and unbalanced pre-tournament favourites have struggled, for the most part, to penetrate the resistance.

There have been some belting contests in Germany this summer, and there was drama up until the last to round off the group stage. However, an excitement reset button needs to be hit. With the knockouts beckoning, it’s time for more thrills and spills.

The round of 16 draw has thrown up a variety of ties which shouldn’t mean we endure the same dynamic of match-up on repeat. There’s a blockbuster between two leading nations, room for upsets and underdog runs, as well as 90 minutes of likely chaos in Leipzig on Tuesday night.

The four days of round of 16 action should be a lot of fun, and here’s how 90min ranks the eight ties purely from a projected excitement perspective.

England v Slovenia - EURO 2024

Slovenia frustrated England to progress / Anadolu/GettyImages

Slovenia have made history by advancing into the knockout stage of a major tournament for the very first time. That’s all well and good, but they’re not particularly fun to watch.

You know what you’re going to get from Matjaz Kek’s side: a 4-4-2 Mike Bassett would be proud of. They’ve got brutes at the back and invention from full-back, but the team’s superstar, Benjamin Sesko, doesn’t look 100%.

This will be a matter of Portugal, who impressed on Matchday 2 but have otherwise struggled to convince, attempting to break Slovenian resistance for 90 minutes.

David Strelec, Martin Dubravka, David Hancko, Ondrej Duda, Ivan Schranz, Denis Vavro, Lukas Haraslin, Peter Pekarik, Juraj Kucka, Stanislav Lobotka, Milan Skriniar

Slovakia press well and build-up through their experienced midfield / Stu Forster/GettyImages

England have served up arguably the three least watchable games of the tournament so far. Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions have rarely dazzled on the big stage, with their balance and functionality making sure of their success.

However, England have so far been woefully unbalanced with the manager attempting to fit too many square pegs into round holes. There are obvious changes to the starting XI which should bring about much-improved performances, and supporters can only hope Southgate includes the correct personnel on Sunday.

Slovakia will fancy their chances, and they…

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