Euro 2016's quarter-finalists: Why they will and won't win

Sixteen teams have been sent packing from France, with only eight left standing. Ben Clark casts an eye over the contenders for the continental crown

Poland

Grzegorz Krychowiak has been superb so far, dominating the midfield battle in every match and helping his side transition quickly from defence to attack

Why they will: Poland have the second-best defensive record after Germany, and have looked sturdy at the back despite operating with two strikers. They're also dangerous on the counter-attack and have plenty of creativity within their ranks, while Robert Lewandowski is one of the best centre-forwards around... even if he hasn't bothered the scorekeepers in France yet.

Why they won't: Poland have often been profligate in front of goal, with Arek Milik wasting key chances and Lewandowski yet to hit his stride.

Who they're relying on: Grzegorz Krychowiak has been superb so far, dominating the midfield battle in every match and helping his side transition quickly from defence to attack.

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Portugal

He might not be the same player he once was, but Ronaldo remains a world-class talent who can produce moments of magic from nothing

Why they will: They've got the best player at the tournament. This will be several key players' best remaining chance to win a tournament, with Ronny & Co. desperate for success. 

Why they won't: Their defence: Ricardo Carvalho is 38, Bruno Alves is 34, Pepe is 33 and both Eliseu and Jose Fonte are 32. Portugal have been far from convincing at the back up to now, with four goals conceded in four matches. They'll have to tighten up if they're to lift the trophy.

Who they're relying on: Who do you think? After poor performances against both Iceland and Austria, he managed to claw Portugal through to the knockout rounds with a brace against Hungary. He might not quite be the same player he once was, but the Real Madrid man remains a world-class talent who can produce moments of magic from nothing.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Can Ronaldo guide Portugal to the title?

Belgium

They're also on the favourable side of the draw and will fancy their chances against either Portugal or Poland should they overcome Wales on Friday

Why they will: It’s about time this Belgium side fulfilled its potential. They seem to be getting stronger after a desperate start against Italy – three wins, eight goals scored and none conceded since then – while Eden Hazard was in imperious form against Hungary in the last 16. They're also on the favourable side of the draw and will fancy their chances against either Portugal or Poland should they overcome Wales on Friday.

Why they won't: Belgium could succumb under the pressure, just as they did at the World Cup two years ago. Manager Marc Wilmots isn't the best tactically, while the Red Devils still often look like a collection of individuals.

Who they're relying on: Kevin De Bruyne. The Manchester City playmaker has been sharp if not at his absolute best so far, but he has the talent and intelligence to be the difference-maker in the final third.

Wales

Knockout matches at this stage can be tense and nervous affairs; will Wales' lack of experience at this level cost them?

Why they will: Wales are soaking up every moment of the Euros this summer – and who can blame them? They've already surpassed expectations by making it this far, and Chris Coleman and his players will fear no one going forward. Gareth Bale is one of the best players left standing in the competition, and the Welsh have done well to find a system that gets the best out of him.

Why they won't: They have very few match-winners in the squad, which means Bale will be under even more pressure to deliver. Knockout matches at this stage can be tense and nervous affairs – and Wales's lack of experience at this level might cost them.

Who they're relying on: That boy Bale. He's proved decisive at the sharp end in every game so far and is one of the most feared attacking players on the continent.

Wales

Wales's spirit and togetherness could take them even further than the quarter-finals