Euro 2016: BBC pundits on the new format and who has impressed them so far in France

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Euro 2016: Dimitri Payet scores stunning French winner

There have been a few great goals, and plenty of late ones, but how is the expanded European Championship shaping up as a tournament to remember?

After 13 days and with 36 of the 51 games played, the traditional heavyweights are all safely through the group stage, along with all of the home nations, the Republic of Ireland - and a few so-called minnows too.

Has it been enjoyable to watch though? BBC Sport's pundits Rio Ferdinand, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Danny Murphy, Mark Lawrenson and Neil Lennon give their verdict on the spectacle so far in France, which teams and players have impressed them, and how things might change in the last 16.

The new format - love it or hate it?

There are more teams here, with more to play for, but there have been fewer goals. This is the first European Championship to feature 24 teams, and 23 of them were in contention for a place in the last 16 going into the last round of group games - the exception being Ukraine. But there has been an average of 1.92 goals per game so far, only the second time it has been lower than two per match in a group stage since the first finals in 1980.

Alan Shearer: In the final set of group games especially, we saw lots of teams defend very deep just to get a point so they could get through, like Slovakia against England for example.

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Highlights: Slovakia 0-0 England

That's what happens when you have third-placed sides getting out of groups. I don't think the quality so far has been as high as previously but, with an extra eight teams here, that has not surprised me.

Rio Ferdinand: It has made the groups interesting until the end. On Wednesday in Group F, for example, all four teams were going for it in their final games because they needed to win.

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Highlights: Hungary 3-3 Portugal

Having a third-placed team go through has given some of the countries who haven't been here before an opportunity to progress but I think we will see a better standard of football now the knockout stage is here.

Danny Murphy: Overall, it is a huge positive to have more teams here. Yes, some of the quality might not have been so good but it has given a few teams and tens of thousands of their supporters the chance to experience a tournament that otherwise they never would have done. That is beneficial for those nations and football generally.

But I am excited now because we are at the point where the games really start to matter. People are going home if they lose and that should create some better games, a bit more end to end and people having a go.

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Highlights: Italy 0-1 Republic of Ireland

Mark Lawrenson: This tournament has reminded me a lot of the Champions League. There have been a few surprise results but all the heavyweights got out of their groups. Once you get to the knockout stages, the real competition starts.

Why all the late drama?

45 of the 69 goals (65%) in the group stages were scored in the second half, 27.5% of the goals came from the 80th minute onwards (19) and 22% (15) of them have come in the last five minutes or stoppage time - the highest percentage in finals history.

Danny Murphy: It is related to the defensive approach that some of the lesser teams here have adopted. If you look at quite a few of the group games, it has been the stronger teams pressing and the lesser teams hanging on for dear life. They just wear them down in the end, but it has still been quite freakish how many late goals there have been.

It has added drama and excitement, and long may it continue, but it is less likely as the tournament goes on because there will be more even games.

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Iceland score in injury time to beat Austria

Kevin Kilbane: It is almost as if the better nations always have the theory that they will eventually break the other teams down. That is the way it has been in a lot of games - all the teams are competitive but eventually that goal has come. I am not expecting the lesser sides to change their tactics in the knockout stages but, even if it takes until extra time, the stronger sides will back themselves to score.

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Sturridge nicks England winner

Alan Shearer: The moment I have enjoyed the most has to be England's last-minute winner against Wales. We were sitting in the studio with big John Hartson and Dean Saunders and you could see the disappointment in their faces when that went in.

What about the atmosphere, and the organisation?

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A French prosecutor says there were around 150 Russian "hooligans" who travelled to Marseille "well-prepared for violence"

Alan Shearer: The thing that has angered me most is the scenes with England and Russia fans in Marseille and also when flares were chucked on to the pitch during the Croatia versus Czech Republic game. For the vast majority, the fans have been absolutely outstanding and just enjoying the tournament. Here in Paris we've got a great atmosphere and we're seeing fans outside our hotel enjoying themselves, which is the way it should be.

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Flares thrown on pitch during Croatia-Czech Republic draw

Kevin Kilbane: I have been to a lot of games and have not experienced the kind of trouble that happened in Marseille. The fans I have seen have all mixed brilliantly together - every supporter of a smaller nation wants to go to a major finals like this which is why they are all enjoying themselves so much.

Neil Lennon: The colours inside the ground have been fantastic, and the stadiums have almost always been packed. For all the countries that are here for the first time, you can see how much it means to their supporters. The passion at the games has been amazing and apart from those early incidents, the camaraderie of all sets of fans has been terrific.

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Northern Ireland fans give their reaction to defeat by Germany and progress into last 16 of Euro 2016.

Danny Murphy: I am glad the trouble has cleared up but I have to say some of the organisation at games I have gone to has been awful. I went to Northern Ireland against Germany at Parc des Princes as a punter with my wife, rather than as a pundit, and it was a nightmare outside.

The security checks meant three or four thousand of us were trying to get through three small access points. At one point it was so tight, there was kid of about 10 near me crying because he was trapped a little bit so I obviously helped him out. There was no drama and no-one got hurt but they could have done - the barriers were rocking with people trying to get through and I would not want to take my children to games here.

Someone told me it was a similar story before England played Slovakia in Saint-Etienne. I know the terror threat means security is high but they have to have more access points to the stadium otherwise if a lot of fans turn up late it will be dangerous.

Which teams have stood out so far?

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Euro 2016: Spain 3-0 Turkey highlights

Alan Shearer: Spain have had one good performance, and so have Belgium. Italy, when they were at full strength, have been like I thought they would, and it is the same with Germany. But it is a very open tournament, which has to be a positive for England.

Rio Ferdinand: Spain did impress me, but then they lost to Croatia, who looked strong too. There's no team that stands out at the moment and maybe that's one of the exciting things. You can't say anyone is nailed on to be a finalist or semi-finalist because every team has a chink in their armour.

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Euro 2016: Croatia 2-1 Spain highlights

Kevin Kilbane: Watching live, I have really liked the look of Croatia, who are so good going forward and especially in their half of the draw, have to be dark horses to make it all the way to the final. From the other half, Spain and Germany both look strong while France haven't put a performance in yet, but they are still unbeaten and there is more to come from them too.

Neil Lennon: Some of the better teams are starting to warm up as the tournament goes on and I would include England in that. They have been dominating games without putting teams away and if games open up will they be able to exploit the gaps that are left, but the flip side to that is they have not even been tested defensively yet.

Mark Lawrenson: I would actually go for Wales as the team who have impressed me the most, for finishing top of Group B after being seeded fourth. They are not a one-man team like many people say but that one man - Gareth Bale - has shown he is a world-class player.

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Highlights: Russia 0-3 Wales

And which other players have impressed?

Rio Ferdinand: Dimitri Payet has been the go-to guy for France so far - everyone expected it to be Antoine Griezmann or Paul Pogba. But Payet has come out of the traps flying. He scored an unbelievable goal in the first game with his left foot and a stunning goal with his right foot when he went into the box in the second game.

We've seen it from him all season in the Premier League. But to come out in the Euros in a France shirt and do it - for me he's been the player of the tournament so far.

Alan Shearer: I have loved watching Payet. Not only his goals but his general play has been superb. I agree with Rio, I think he has been the outstanding player up to now.

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Payet scores fine second as France progress

Thierry Henry: Payet has not surprised me. What I like about him is that he plays like it is his last ever game. Obviously he is getting all the press and he deserves it but for me the most consistent French player so far is N'Golo Kante. I think he is the guy who has surprised everyone in France. He is just outstanding. He is the first guy who stops everything and he is the guy also who starts the counter-attack.

Danny Murphy: Croatia have been impressive partly because of the obvious people, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, but Ivan Perisic has been one of the stars of the tournament for me. His power and running ability is phenomenal.

Kevin Kilbane: Perisic is just so direct, he really hurts teams. There is talk of him leaving Inter Milan at the moment but it would take an awful lot of money to get him. Italy winger Antonio Candreva is another one I really like and I also saw a bit of Albania - in terms of people who surprised me, there was their wide-man Ermir Lenjani and also Armando Sadiku, who had great movement up front.

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Highlights: Romania 0-1 Albania

Neil Lennon: Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik has really impressed me - he always looks a threat and fits into the way they play so well. And the Portugal left-back, Raphael Guerreiro, who I watched live against Austria, has been quality too. He has just signed for Borussia Dortmund and he stood out in that game.

Mark Lawrenson: I have not seen a better two players in midfield in Kante and Spain's Andres Iniesta. In my team of the group stage, I've got Payet starting on the right even though most would expect him on the left. The thing is, he scored his wonder goal against in the first game against Romania cutting in from the right.

Bale has to be the lone forward, though, I don't think there can be any argument about that.

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My Team of the Group Stage

The group stage is over at Euro 2016 - but who were the best players? Pick your group stage XI using our team selector.

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