Euro 2020: Top Moments from the Round-of-16
The Euros are finally here! Join us as FC Mangalore’s Technical team of Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera break down the matches.
As we headed into the knock-out phase of the UEFA Euro 2020, there were some spectacular goals, unexpected shocks and national heroes who came to the fore over the course of the drama-filled ninety minutes.
FC Mangalore Media asked our very own team of Technical Experts Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera to pick the top five moments of the round and here’s what they had to say.
Dolberg stunner inspires Danes
Denmark 4-0 Wales
Wales came into the tie against Denmark on the back of a great showing in the group phase and were the pundit’s pick to advance to the next round. The opening exchanges heavily favoured the Welsh and with an in-form Bale leading the surge, came close on multiple occasions to breaking the deadlock.
The moment of genius arrived at the half-hour mark when Danish striker Kasper Dolberg latched on to a through ball from Mikkel Damsgaard and unleashed a superb strike from outside the penalty area that curled past the outstretched Welsh ‘keeper and into the far corner to open the scoring. Dolberg would later double his tally in a performance which would earn him the “Star of the Match” award and register one of Denmark’s highest winning margins in Euro’s history.
SK: “Wales were overwhelming favourites and it really took a moment of magic to turn the tie. Dolberg’s goal was technically flawless and more importantly, stunned Wales to such an extent that they were unable to recover.”
Chiesa stunner sinks Austria
Italy 2-1 Austria (After Extra-time)
Fresh off a perfect start to the group phase with three consecutive wins, Italy were the firm favourites as they lined up against Austria in the UEFA Euro 2020 Round of 16 match in Wembley. To their credit, the Austrians defended bravely against a spirited Italian outfit and thwarted wave after wave of attacks and forced the tie into extra-time after it ended 0-0 at the end of regulation time.
With the tie seemingly headed for penalties, Mancini brought on Chiesa, a player that the Italian media had been fawning over in the build-up to the tie. The game-changing moment arrived in the 95th minute when Spinazzola’s cross across the penalty area was expertly brought down by Chiesa and hammered into goal from a tight angle.
Minutes later, Pessina doubled Italy’s lead and though Austria pulled one back late in extra-time, the Italians held on for a famous victory.
BT: “Mancini has some of the best attacking players at his disposal and the question on whether Chiesa deserved to start was put to the test although he is a very effective super-sub and delivers the goods as and when required. Showed great composure and quality to finish from a very narrow angle.”
Holders undone by Hazardous goal
Belgium 1-0 Portugal
It was the battle of the giants as Belgium took on defending champions Portugal in their Round of 16 encounter. For the most of the tie, the holders were the ones doing most of the attacking before a moment of individual brilliance decided the tie and sent Ronaldo and co. packing.
With the match evenly poised and half-time looming, Thorgan Hazard received the ball at the edge of the penalty area and with two sublime touches, he unleashed a powerful shot that dipped and swerved wickedly before crashing into the far corner of the goal.
SK: “This was the first real test for Belgium and they came out with flying colours. Hazard’s goal was similar to Dolberg’s for Denmark and the quality and technique at display for that strike was truly sublime and worthy of a match winner.”
Le Blues crash out after Mbappe penalty miss
France 3-3* Switzerland
Anything less than lifting the Euro 2020 trophy would have been considered a failure for this current French side and even the pundits who had made these statements could not have predicted that Les Blues would bow out in the Round of 16, to a highly unfancied Switzerland outfit for that matter.
After conceding early on , France pulled themselves back to 3-1 with goals from Benzema and Pogba. Taking a leaf out of Croatia’s book, Switzerland pulled themselves back level with two late goals to send the match into extra-time and eventually to the lottery of the penalties.
After both teams had scored four a-piece from the spot, Mbappe stepped up to keep France in the tie, only to have his effort saved by Sommer on the line to send the World Champions crashing out of the tournament.
BT: “Mbappe is a once-in-a-generation talent for France and it was truly heartbreaking to see him bearing the brunt of the loss with that penalty miss. France were a joy to watch and in this tie too, they could have finished off the tie in regulation time itself but such is football – you win some, you lose some. Congratulations to Switzerland – the giant killers of Euro 2020.”
Morata delivers when needed most
Spain 5-3 Croatia
A lot has been said in the media circles about the current plight of the Spanish National team and their recent goal drought none more so than misfiring striker Alvaro Morata.
Against Croatia in their Round of 16 tie, Spain got off a horrid star following a goal-keeping error early on but managed to rally to a 3-1 lead. Croatia responded with a fairy-tale comeback, grabbing two late goals – the second arriving in stoppage time – to force the tie into extra-time.
With Spain seemingly on the verge of collapse, up stepped Morata to decide the tie once and for all in a moment that confirmed his pedigree as a world-class striker. As Rodri whipped in a cross from the right wing, Morata took one touch to bring it under control before volleying it into the roof of the net to make it 4-3 and orchestrate a famous Spanish victory in recent years.
SK: “Morata has had a forgettable few outings and the Spanish media have been ruthless with him off late. With all that pressure, in extra-time, with the scores tied at 3-3, he really repaid Luis Enrique for all the trust that was put in him and scored a spectacular goal.”
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