Ranking the best (and worst) Euro 2016 quarter-finalists

Some of the favourites have failed to make the last-eight

Euro 2016, Football, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Poland, Wales

Picture by: Michael Probst / AP/Press Association Images

After 42 games and with an average of over two goals per match, Euro 2016 is finally at the business end of the competition as the quarter-finals begin on Thursday night.

While the pre-tournament favourites such as Germany and France have reached the last-eight, underdogs such as Wales and Iceland have also made history and punched above their weight.

What teams have impressed so far? Who have been lucky to make it this far?

Here are Newstalk.com's rankings of the quarter-finalists at Euro 2016.

1. GERMANY

The World Champions are the only team left in the tournament, yet to concede a goal. After a slow start in their opening two games, where they defeated Ukraine on the opening weekend, but failed to score against Poland, the team have found their form in their last two games.

Only for the heroics, of Michael McGovern, Germany would have been comfortable winners against Northern Ireland. In the Second Round, they easily outplayed what looked like a stubborn proposition on paper, in Slovakia. The easy 3-0 win sent out a message to the rest of the competition.

2. ITALY

Such has been the luck of the draw, the two best teams in the competition meet in the quarter-finals. The Azzurri were widely regarded as one of the worst Italian teams to reach the finals of an international tournament, but in Antonio Conte, they have perhaps the best manager at Euro 2016.

Gianluigi Buffon has yet to concede a goal in the tournament, and their sole loss came against the Republic of Ireland when they were already assured of topping Group E. The opening win against Belgium will live long in the memory, along with their deserved 2-0 win over back-to-back champions Spain in the Second Round.

Picture by: Antonio Calanni / AP/Press Association Images

3. BELGIUM 

The "Golden Generation" of Belgian football may finally get their chance to shine in the coming weeks. After a near revolt in the squad after the Italy loss, Belgium recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland, before their 1-0 win against Sweden in their final Group E game.

The loss to Italy may have been the best thing to happen to Marc Wilmots' side as the Red Devils were placed into the easier side of the draw. Of the four teams left in the top half, Belgium seem to be the strongest of the lot. A 4-0 win over Hungary was the biggest of the tournament so far. Are they peaking at the right time?

4. FRANCE

Didier Deschamps' side went into the tournament with the weight of the country on their shoulders. After getting through the three Group A games unscathed, with the help of two late Dimitri Payet goals, the hosts were given an almighty fright by the Republic of Ireland in the Second Round.

Like they did, 18 years ago in the 1998 World Cup, the hosts started the tournament have started the tournament slowly, but may get through the rounds on a wave of momentum from the French public. They seem the most likely team to reach the semi-finals. Iceland stand in their way.

5. WALES

Not many would have expected Wales to be the last of the three British teams standing at Euro 2016. The second-highest goalscorers in the tournament, an injury-time Daniel Sturridge goal for England is the only blot in Chris Coleman's side's copy book. 

Their win against Russia in Toulouse was one of the most impressive performances of the tournament so far, and with Gareth Bale in the team, Wales have one of Euro 2016's genuine stars. After overcoming Northern Ireland in Paris, Wales may find it easier being the underdogs against Belgium.

6. POLAND

Xherdan Shaqiri's goal for Switzerland, is the only time Poland have conceded so far at Euro 2016. Unbeaten in Group C, only goal difference separated the two teams at the top of the group stages. While the defence has been rock solid, they have struggled to score goals.

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has yet to score, but his lack of goals has been remedied by Jakub Blaszczykowski. The Dortmund star has scored two the the team's three goals. Their quarter-final with Portugal looks the weakest of the four matches.

Picture by: Pavel Golovkin / AP/Press Association Images

7. PORTUGAL

The only team left in the tournament, yet to win a match in 90 minutes. Portugal advanced from Group F as one of the best third-placed teams after drawing their three games with Iceland, Austria and Hungary. It took 117 minutes for Fernando Santos' side to get their first shot on target against Croatia.

As he showed against Hungary, when Cristiano Ronaldo is on form he is almost unplayable. Portugal's issue has been that Ronaldo has not been at his best in the other three games. They have taken advantage of the generous Second Round, and are improving. Will it be good enough though to beat Poland?

8. ICELAND

Iceland's 2-1 win over England has undoubtedly been the moment of the tournament so far. The smallest team at Euro 2016 are still unbeaten as they prepare for their fifth game in France. They meet the hosts on Sunday night in the Stade de France.

This Cinderella story looks unlikely to have a fairytale ending, despite impressing in Group F. The last-minute goal against Austria in their final group game, set the team on a path against England, which sent them to the final-eight. Lars Lagerback's side will go into the game against France with no fear. It may still prove as not enough.