Italy
Italy defeated one of the title favourites, Spain, in the round of 16. Pictured: Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon celebrates after the match against Spain.Reuters

After a gruelling round of 16, the Euro 2016 has moved to the quarterfinals stage, with eight teams keen to grab the final four spot. There was plenty of drama in the pre-quarters stage, with favourites like England shown the exit door by Iceland. However, other strong teams like Germany, Italy, France and Belgium have made it to the crucial stage. 

Now, the competition is going to be even more fierce, and a mistake here or there could cost them a spot in the semifinals. Each of the last eight teams in Euro 2016 have deserved their spot, and will be keen to go all the way as well. There are some mouth-watering clashes in store for football fans, and here is a look at all the four matches in the quarterfinal stage.

Quarterfinal 1 – Poland vs Portugal

This clash has all the making of a brilliant encounter. What makes it fascinating is both the teams have not hit top gear, but still reached the last eight. Poland have been impressive defensively, but their offense needs to improve considerably to reach the last four. Portugal have conceded four goals in the competition, which needs to be tight against Poland, who will be wary of the Fernando Santos and his defensive strategy, which stifled Croatia in the last game.

Though Poland and Portugal have some quality players in their ranks, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo are going to hold the key for their teams respectively. But the Polish striker has been below par, and his teammates will want him to fire against Portugal. 

Date: June 30

Time: 9 p.m local time (12:20 am IST)

Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Quarterfinal 2 – Wales vs Belgium

Wales have shown that their team is much more than Gareth Bale, who is their star player. All their players have stood up to the task, and produced some great football, entertaining fans with their display. Belgium also fall in the same bracket as they have played some attractive football in Euro 2016, and their last 4-0 win over Hungary has proved why they are one of the most feared teams in the competition. 

Belgium, with their array of stars, were always going to be one of the teams to watch, and their players will be keen to get their game right against Wales. Stars like Eden Hazard, Kevin du Bruyne have been brilliant, and Wales need to find a way to stop these players. Wales' defender Ashley Williams is expected to be busy during the clash. Among all the quarterfinals, this Wales vs Belgium clash is expected to be the most end-to-end stuff.

Date: July 1

Time: 9 p.m local time (12:20 am IST)

Venue: Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille

Quarterfinal 3 – Germany vs Italy

Many experts and fans feel this match should have been a title-decider, but as it is, one of the teams will be dumped out of the competition in the last eight. Will it be Germany or Italy? Take your call. There is hardly anything to choose between the two teams.

Italy's defence, which has been stupendous, will face their major test against Germany's offence. But make no mistake, Italy have showed that they have goals in them as well, scoring twice to send Spain home. Antonio Conte, Italy manager, has been spot on with all his tactics in Euro 2016, and he will be keen to get back to his drawing board and have specific plans to tackle the strong German team.

Most of the talk might have been surfacing over Germany's strong offence, but they are yet to concede a single goal in the competition. However, players like Mesut Ozil, Mario Gomez and others need to be on top of their game to help Germany reach the semifinals.

Date: July 2

Time: 9 p.m local time (12:20 am IST)

Venue: Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

Quarterfinal 4 – France vs Iceland

France, the hosts, showed great character to come down from 0-1 against Republic of Ireland to emerge victorious 2-1. On paper, France may be considered favourites against Iceland, but the latter have proved to be a tough nut to crack, defeating England to set up a date with Didier Deschamps side.

Iceland have exceeded expectations, first topping their group, and now reaching the last eight. After stunning England with their gutsy performance, Iceland will want to throw France as well, which might not be easy, but is not impossible. France have some wonderful players like Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud in their camp, but they have not shown what they are capable of as a unit, hence allowing their opponents to take advantage. France need a better all-round performance to defeat a determined Iceland unit, and it could be a perfect chance for them to send warning signs to other teams with a solid win. 

Date: July 3

Time: 9 p.m local time (12:20 am IST)

Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis

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