Euro 2020: Quarter-finals Round Up
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 moments that decided the ties and here’s what they had to say.
Penalty drama as Spain overcome Swiss
Spain *1-1 Switzerland (After Penalties)
Spain broke the deadlock early courtesy of Alba’s deflected effort in the 8th minute and stuck to their trademark style of patient, possession based play as Switzerland were forced to defend deep into their own half. The Swiss were well organized, soaked in the pressure and looked play on the counter-attack using the creative influence of Xherdan Shaqiri.
On to the second half and Swiss Coach Petkovic opted to press higher up the pitch in search of the elusive equalizer and were rewared in the 68th minute. Remo Freuler snatched the ball off Laporte and set up Shaquiri, who placed the ball into the bottom corner to restore parity at 1-1.
Just when Switzerland seemed to be making inroads into the game, Freuler was given his marching orders by the referee in the 77th minute for a two-footed lunge.
Swiss Keeper Sommer was the busiest player on the pitch as the Spaniards pushed forward in search of the winner. Time and again, Sommer was at hand with his goal-line heroics to deny the Spanish as the Swiss fought hard to defend and force the game into extra-time and finally to the lottery of penalties.
Unfortunately, unlike in the previous round against France where they scored from all five kicks, the Swiss limped out with a whimper in one of the lowest-scoring penalty shoot-outs in recent memory as Spain booked their place in the semi-finals.
SK’s Moment of the Match: “Unai Simón delivered right when the team needed him the most – in the penalty shootout. Spain started off in the most horrific way possible with Captain Busquests crashing his effort into the post but it was Simón who turned the tie around in the shootout with his two crucial saves which handed Spain the win.”
Italy edge Belgium in battle of heavyweights
Italy 2-1 Belgium
Belgium took on Italy in a classic encounter which pegged two of the most in-form sides in Euro 2020 against each other in Munich. Italy stuck to their attacking traits and took the game to the Belgians early on, pushing forward and dominating the opening exchanges.
At the half hour mark, Italy were finally rewarded when Barella opened the scoring after skipping past two Belgian defenders and smashing the ball into the back of the net.
The lead was doubled courtesy of a spectacular strike from Insigne to make it 2-0. The Belgians were handed a life-line at the stroke of half-time when Doku was brought down inside the penalty area and Lukaku converted off the spot to make it 2-1.
Belgium went on the offensive in the second half however the experienced Italian defence stood firm and blocked chance after chance and held on for a famous victory.
BT’s Moment of the Match: “In the end, it was fitting that Lorenzo Insigne goal was the difference between the two sides. A goal of outstanding technical quality, it showed why Insigne is such a big part of Coach Mancini’s plans. His effort curled from outside the box across the face of goal and into the far corner, past the outstretched ‘keeper.”
Denmark’s fairytale run continues into Semis
Denmark 2-1 Czech Republic
Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg delivered the goals as Denmark edged past the Czech Republic to reach their first Euro semi-final since 1992 – when they went on to hoist the trophy.
Denmark went off to a fine start, opening the scoring in the fifth minute off a Delaney header. The Danes looked the better of the two sides as the half wore on and the lead was doubled just before the break. In a sweeping counter-attacking move, Mæhle’s cross from the left wing fell into the path of an onrushing Dolberg who finished from close range.
The Czechs clawed their way back minutes into the second half when Schick found the net for the fifth time in the tournament to make it 2-1. Souček went close to finding the equalizer late in the game but the Danes held on to secure their spot in the semi-finals.
SK’s Moment of the Match: “Tomáš Mæhle’s assist for the second Danish goal was a sight to behold. Speeding down the left wing, his outside-of-the-boot cross was technically flawless as it dissected the Czech defence and curled away from the ‘keeper and into the path of Dolberg who only needed to stick out a foot to find the net from close range.”
Wembley bound England rout Ukraine
England 4-0 Ukraine
Goals from Kane, Maguire and Henderson enabled England to overcome Ukraine and record their highest-ever margin of victory in Euros history as they booked their place in the semis of Euro 2020 with a commanding performance in Rome.
England got off to a dream start and scored in the 4th minute when Sterling dribbled inside from the left wing and played through to Kane, who held off his marker and beat the ‘keeper from close range.
England dominated proceedings and went close on multiple occasions. The elusive second goal finally arrived in the 46th minute when Maguire headed home off Shaw’s free-kick. Ukraine barely had any time to regroup before they went 3-0 down as Shaw’s cross from the left was emphatically headed home by Kane.
Jordan Hendersen made it four on the night when he found himself in the right place at the right time to finish from Mount’s corner as England capped off the rout in style and secured the final spot in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
BT’s Moment of the Match: “Kane’s opening goal set the scene for what was to come and the England captain kept his cool to fend off his marker like an old-fashioned English #9. Thought the goal was not particularly spectacular, it calmed English nerves and allowed them the freedom to play without pressure – much to the delight of the millions of English fans.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.