Euro, Copa America Today: Germany wants revenge, France wants momentum, Messi wants a title

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It’s the final day of wall-to-wall soccer of the summer. Soak it in.

A trio of European knockout stage games today are punctuated by the Copa America final. It doesn’t get much better than that.

[ LIVE: Follow EURO 2016 ]

The day starts with France defending its home turf in Euro 2016, as Les Bleus take on the Republic of Ireland. For France, it’s the start of what should be a deep run in the tournament. For the Irish, this is uncharted territory.

Next comes Germany and Slovakia, who met in a pre-tournament warmup match, with Slovakia pulling off the upset. Can they do it again? Hungary also meets Belgium, both looking for a date with Wales in the next round.

[ LIVE: Follow Copa America 2016 ]

Finally, tonight brings up the much-anticipated Copa America final, a rematch of last year’s title bout and another chance for Messi to exorcise his major tournament demons.


Essential reading: Can Messi win a major tournament? Marc Wilmots needs Belgium to be sharper. Hugo Lloris will break a big French record.

ICYMI: USA may have lost to Colombia again, but they looked much better. Portugal stunk against Croatia but won late anyways. Soccer’s funny, isn’t it?


EURO 2016, Game 40: France vs. Republic of Ireland

When: Sunday, 9 a.m. ET

Where: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon

Live updates: NBCSports.com

This could be your prototypical trap game, but the French will be rested, with over a week to prepare for their opening knockout round game. With England, Germany, Italy, and Spain all potentially on the horizon before France could even reach the final, there’s much less build-up for this game than there is looking ahead, but the Republic of Ireland will be up for its first-ever Euro knockout game.


EURO 2016, Game 41: Germany vs. Slovakia

When: Sunday, 12 p.m. ET

Where: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Germany fell to Slovakia 3-1 in a friendly less than a month ago, but this is completely different. The Germans played unbeatable defense throughout the group stage, and while the attack faltered, they will start hitting the target more effectively sooner rather than later. These two teams have met 10 times in their history, but only once in a competitive environment. Slovakia, coming off its first-ever clean sheet at a major tournament, has played well, but needs its playmakers to step up.


EURO 2016, Game 42: Hungary vs. Belgium

When: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET

Where: Stade Municipal, Toulouse

Live updates: NBCSports.com

Belgium came into the group stage like lambs and went out like lions, but they’ll need to keep their shooting boots on moving forward. Handed a berth into the “easier” side of the knockout bracket, but they draw a team in fine form. Hungary has lost just one of its last eight matches, winning three and drawing four. This could be a very interesting matchup between two teams in relatively uncharted territory.


2016 Copa America, Game 32: Argentina vs. Chile

When: Sunday, 8 p.m. ET

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Live updates: NBCSports.com

It all comes down to this. The Copa America final between Argentina and Chile. One side looks to break a long-standing duck, while the other hopes to defend its crown from just a year ago. Lionel Messi is often knocked as a failure on the international stage, having never won a major tournament with his country. Now, ranked #1 in the world and part of one of the most stacked squads in international history, it will be his best chance ever to not just throw the monkey off his back, but also get revenge for a poor display in last year’s final.