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Euro 2016: First time teams meet since infamous Henry handball

Reporter: Michael Fox 丨 CCTV.com

06-26-2016 15:50 BJT

We look ahead to tonight's action, and the Republic of Ireland will be looking to exorcise some demon's in their last 16 match-up against France. The last time the squads faced off in a competitive match, there was a lot of controversy, as France crushed Ireland's 2010 World Cup hopes when a dubious Thierry Henry handball resulted in the decisive goal, and that helped Les Bleus qualifying for the tournament in South Africa, while the Irish did not.

It's been seven years since Ireland and France last played, which is time enough to hit the reset button. But even if the Irish have moved past that ignominious evening in November of 2009, it's tough to imagine that they, and their fans, wouldn't relish a chance to exact a bit of justice at the hosts of this event.

"The French are very good players. They play with big teams and they obviously have to be watched very very carefully. But, We'll approach it like that but, when we get the ball, we'll try and use it as well as we did the other evening," said Martin O'Neill, Ireland manager.

"We often talk about this fighting spirit, but they don't think twice, they go all the way, it is quiet important to have that. But it is almost a genetic quality that they have. They're ready to go into battle. That's why I know that we're going to have a tricky match," said Didier Deschamps, France coach.

World champs did not concede a goal in group stage

Despite topping their group, Germany have found themselves on the toughest side of the draw and will play either reigning champs Spain or nemesis -- and bogey team Italy, should they win their next match.

But they must first be wary of Slovakia, who unsettled Joachim Loew's side in the build-up to the tournament by winning a friendly 3-1.

"It was a friendly, of course, but we saw how dangerous they can be when they attack. Concerning set pieces, we conceded two goals in that defeat and due to their individual qualities they have in attack it will be very difficult for us," said Jonas Hector, Germany defender.

"Their players play on world-class teams, but there are strengths and weaknesses to any teams. Obviously there are very few weaknesses in the German team, but we'll try to use that and we will see to what extent," said Jan Kozac, Slovakia coach.

Hungary into last 16 after finishing top of group

While Belgium have failed to live up to their status as the world's second ranked team, Hungary's feats at their first international tournament in three decades have inspired a nation. They finished top of the group to join a host of other nations who have punched above their weight to reach the knockout stage.

"We will be very free and liberated, I think we've already met our goal, to qualify out of the group, so we'll try to enjoy each and every moment of the game. Maybe it will be our last game, but we'll try to give our as a team," said Zoltan Gera, Hungary forward.

"It's normal they say you're favourite when you're among the best six national teams, it's logical, I don't have a problem with that. We'll play our game, we're dominant, as we've often been, we're aggressive. We'll do everything we can to reach the quarter-finals," said Marc Wilmots, Belgium coach.

The hosts will kick off their knock-out stage in the first match of the day in Lyon, followed by Germany and Slovakia, and Hungary and Belgium clash in Toulouse.

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