02 JULY 2021 | Angelo Ziovas
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The round of 16 in Euro 2020 offered up many great games as well as a few shocks as well.
Italy v Austria
Starting the knockouts was Austria v Italy, with Italy being expected to win this and looking formidable opponents for the Austrians, it turned out to be anything but easy for the Italians, even though they came out 2-1 winners. Austria fought through the game and even thought they had gotten a goal to put them ahead in regular time. However, they had a goal ruled out for offside in the 66th minute.
No goals in 90 minutes meant extra time was needed to break the deadlock, and after only 5 minutes of extra time, the substitute, Federico Chiesa scores the first goal of the game with what was a piece of quality from the winger. Then just before the break at 105 minutes, Matteo Pessina scores a second with a nice close-range finish which proved to be the winner on the night. The second half for Austria, they tried to fight back and even got a goal in the 114th minute with a brilliant header from Sasa Kalajzic. But it was not enough, and Italy win a close fought game between the two sides.
Denmark v Wales
Denmark v Wales proved to be the biggest win on the score line in the round of 16, with the Danes scoring 4, winning 4-0 in what could have been a close game, but their quality of finishing was superb, and the Welsh could not handle it. Kasper Dolberg scored a brace, putting the ball in the back of the net with a lovely curling effort in the 27th minute, then scoring again just after the break on 48 minutes.
Wales hung on but could not convert as they seen only 1 shot on target out of the 11 they had in the whole game. The Danes made it 3 near the end just before Harry Wilson of Wales was sent off. Then, compounding Wales misery, Martin Braithwaite sored a 4th in what was a great performance from the Danish team. It will give them loads of confidence going into the quarter finals.
Netherlands v Czech Republic
Netherlands v Czech Republic ended 0-2 to the Czechs, they played really well, and their pressing game was very good, not allowing much time on the ball for their key players. The Dutch had no reply, they tried fashioning out chances, but it was not enough. The Dutch failed to register a single attempt on target and to add insult to injury, Matthijs de Ligt got himself sent off for an extremely silly handball after he was beat by his man. From there the Czechs did not have to wait long for their first goal on 68 minutes via Tomáš Holeš. Then to add to the Dutch disaster, Patrik Schick scored 12 minutes later to send them through to the quarter finals, in impressive fashion.
Belgium v Portugal
Belgium v Portugal proved to be the only last 16 game with 1 goal in it. Belgium came out 1-0 winners after a brilliant strike from Thorgan Hazard gave them the lead on 42 minutes, before that, it was a cagey affair.
The goal proved to be the winner, even with Portugal throwing all they had at the Belgians, it still was not enough in the end. Portugal had 23 shots, only 4 of which on target and did not take the chances they had. Belgium, only having the one shot on target out of total of 6 shots throughout the entire game, and had only 1 out target, won them the game. Which means the holders are out and Belgium move on to the quarter finals still looking for their first European championship win.
Croatia v Spain
Croatia v Spain was an instant classic and proved that when Spain take their chances, they have a real shot at winning this tournament, the goal fest ended 5-3 to Spain, in a brilliant game of football.
The scoring opened through a horrific error from Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon, who when getting a pass from Pedri, took too light of a first touch and let it into his own net, giving Croatia the lead. The Spanish however, fought back, looking the right that mistake and did so. Pablo Sarabia scored the equalizer in the 38th minute to atone for the prior mistake. At half time the scores remained level, but Spain soon took the lead in the 57th minute courtesy of a Cesar Azpilicueta header who jumped highest to give the Spanish the lead. Ferran Torres extended the lead in the 77th minute via a great finish after a brilliant ball forward where Croatia did not look focused and Spain capitalised.
Croatia, committing men foward eventually found a second through Mislav Oršić, with scuffle in the box where he managed to put the ball just over the line to give Croatia a lifeline in the 85th minute. In the dying minutes of the game, goalscorer turned provider crossed the ball into the box, Mario Pasalic came from deep to get a head to it and remarkably made it 3-3 to take the game to extra time.
From there 10 minutes into extra time, Alvaro Morata got himself on the scoresheet by taking down a great cross and smashing the ball in on the half volley to give Spain the lead again. Then two minutes later Mikel Oyarzabal gave the Spanish a 5th goal, turning in another great cross from Dani Olmo and finally putting the game to bed with what may be one of the games of the tournament.
France v Switzerland
The first game of Euro 2020 to be taken to penalties, and against all odds. Switzerland have a place in the quarter finals after a game that finished 3-3 after extra time, then Switzerland winning 5-4 on penalties to take them through over the world champions.
The Swiss got off to a flying start when 14 minutes in Haris Seferovic turned in a headed goal to make it 1-0 Switzerland. The game remained stationed at 1-0 until just over 10 minutes into the second half where Switzerland found themselves with penalty, Ricardo Rodriguez seen his shot saved by Lloris and thus launched France to turn on the style with Karim Benzema scoring two goals within 4 minutes of that penalty. The game was turned on its head at this point and France finally looked like the brilliant team we had seen in the world cup.
Paul Pogba in the 74th minute delivered an absolute stunner from outside the penalty area to give the French a bigger lead to 3-1. Switzerland refused to lay down though, just 6 minutes later, Seferovic, came up big with another headed goal to bring them back to within one. Then another 6 minutes later, with Switzerland pressing to get the ball back, they do successfully, and Granit Xhaka delivers a brilliant ball through to Mario Gavranovic, who scores a brilliant 90th minute leveller to take the game into extra time.
With Extra time coming to a close and penalties looming, Kingsley Coman who had came off the bench in the 111th minute, rattles the bar to almost give France the winner right at the death of extra time. But it was not to be, Penalties awaited. With no one missing their penalty, it was down to Kylian Mbappe to keep the French in it, but he found his attempt saved by Yann Sommer to take Switzerland through after an outstanding performance and a brilliant game.
England v Germany
In what was one of the biggest games of the last 16, England came out and beat the Germans 2-0 making a statement in the process as the last time they had beaten Germany in a major tournament was in 1966.
The game was 0-0 for a long time into the game, both teams have had chances up to the first goal but no one had really taken them, until Raheem Sterling got onto the end of a Luke Shaw cross to tap it in for 1-0 in the 75th minute. The Germans then had a brilliant opportunity to level the scores in the 80th minute with Thomas Muller through on goal but drags the shot wide of the post letting the English off the hook and quite possibly losing the game for Germany then and there. 5 minutes later the English doubled their advantage as Harry Kane headed home a second to finish off the Germans and send England into the quarter finals.
Sweden v Ukraine
The last of the round of 16 games seen Sweden take on Ukraine. Ukraine beats Sweden to progress to the quarter finals with a 2-1 win over the Swedes.
Ukraine scored first with Zinchenko firing in on the 26th minute from the far post after a cross in and struck it in for 1-0 to Ukraine, the keeper did what he could to save it but the power on the ball was too great. Sweden responded via Emil Forsberg with a shot from just outside the area that deflected in off the defender and sent the keeper the wrong way. Both sides were fashioning out chances with the game being relatively even throughout.
The game was still 1-1 after 90 minutes and so was plunged into extra time to settle the difference. It took all the way until the 121st minute where a brilliant cross in from Zinchenko, turned provider for this goal, bends it in to the area where substitute Artem Dovbyk headed it in from close range to break Swedish hearts and send Ukraine into the quarter finals.