So who predicted that Hungary would win group F? Come on, show of hands, don't be shy! This group was down as the toughest to predict (well, I got Iceland in second and Portugal in third right, but then what do I know?) and it proved to be the case as Austria crashed out and Portugal were sucker punched in the 94th minute by Iceland. Ali goes through the final group and relives the excitement.
So Hungary have been the biggest shock of the tournament so far, marching through an unpredictable group to claim top spot. They have somehow been drawn with Belgium in the last 16, which is unfortunate after such a good group stage, but with their own form and confidence sky high and their goal scoring form looking good too they will be in with a good chance of making the quarter finals. Not quite the Magic Magyars of the 50s, this Hungary side will need to keep relying on their little pieces of luck that have gone their way to far to make it further, but with a clear team spirit and a proud national support making plenty of noise in the stands they have every chance of causing another upset. Despite a complete lack of any stand out players they have proven that there is still space for the team in the modern game and will be expecting another brave performance once Belgium come to town.
The minnows have also shown that there is nothing quite like a team when it comes to football, frustrating the illustrious talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal to the extent that he insulted them. Praise indeed for an island that had never qualified for a major tournament before and who's supporters in France number around 10% of their entire population (yeah, Iceland is empty right now!). With a couple of well known Premier League names among the squad they have the dusting of talent needed to cause England problems in the next round and will be expecting another tight, tense game with lots of pressure created and goals stolen on the counter attack. Whilst they are beatable, no one has done it yet. England beware.
After insulting Iceland, underestimating Austria and losing it against Hungary the Portuguese must count themselves slightly fortunate to have made it to the knockout stages. A third places finish wouldn't normally enough and they paid the price for sitting back assuming Austria and Iceland would draw. Instead of facing England they now face Croatia, which is not really an improvement given the way the Croatians have played so far in the tournament. They will have to vastly improve defensively if they are to stand a chance against Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric. Ronaldo finally got his goal, meaning he has scored at each of the last four Euros, with a sublime flick of his heel. He will be dangerous in the next round. In fact, he seems to be Portugal's only threat other than Nani, a fact which should really terrify every Portuguese fan..... They might be able to beat Croatia, but they are unlikely to go far in the rest of the tournament.
One of the pre-tournament dark horses turned into a simple horse during the tournament itself and fell apart under the pressure. Defeat to Hungary left them chasing qualification from the first week and they will be keen to ensure that they bounce back quickly for the world cup qualifiers. Last minute defeat to Iceland will have been tough to take given that they were pushing for the winning goal which would have seen them through, but they just weren't good enough over three games to have earned a place in the round of 16. Even with such talents as David Alaba in the side they were unable to make an impression, even more disappointing after such a strong qualifying campaign.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.