Euro 2020: Round of 16 round-up

T-Mag Wednesday 30/June/2021 19:13 PM
By: Uday Joshi
Euro 2020: Round of 16 round-up

Upsets, shocks, thrillers and nail biting finishes, the Euro 2020 round of 16 had it all.

The first match of the round of 16 tie was on Saturday, June 26, between underdogs Denmark and Wales. Denmark, continuing their winning form and shocking fans around the world, slotted 4 past the Welsh, to qualify for the quarter finals. The Danes were able to keep Welsh star Gareth Bale silent the entire game, thanks to a defensive masterclass by Andreas Christensen, captain Simon Kjaer and Jannik Vestergaard.

Later that night Italy faced Austria. Looking to continue their 29 game unbeaten streak, Italy stepped on the field and showed no intention of taking the game lightly. Austria put up an equal fight only to lose the game 2-1 in extra time. Both of Italy’s goals were scored by substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina.

The next round of 16 tie was on Sunday between Netherlands and Czech Republic. What seemed like an easy victory for the in-form Dutch side, turned out to be the complete opposite with the Czech Republic slotting home 2 goals. The Dutch faced a setback in the 55th minute when defender Mathijs De Ligt was shown a red card reducing them to 10 men and leaving them vulnerable at the back. Patrick Schick and Thomas Holes capitalized and took the Czech into the Quarters.

The same night, Belgium played defending champions Portugal. A long range strike from Thorgan Hazard sealed the game for the Red Devils forcing Cristiano Ronaldo and his men to exit the competition early. After the game everyone had one question, “could this be Ronaldo's last Euros?”. Portugal seemed to be shaky in all departments throughout the tournament whereas Belgium were dominant in all their fixtures.

On 28th June world cup finalists Croatia took on Spain in a match that turned out to be a goal fest with Spain qualifying after winning the game 5-3. Croatia were down by 2 goals but covered the deficit by scoring in the final minutes of normal time which took the game to extra time where Spain slotted 2 goals into the Croatian net to seal the game. Spain have scored 10 goals in their last 2 games in the Euros. In the games prior to that they had scored only one goal. The reason for a sudden increase in goals for Spain can be given to captain Sergio Busquets who controls the game with his abilities in midfield. He was out for the first 2 games of the Euros due to COVID but came back stronger than ever.

World champions France took on Switzerland in the next match. France looked clear to win this game considering their talent and depth but the Swiss had other ideas. Switzerland took the lead in the 15th minute but went down by two goals in the 75th minute thanks to a wonder strike by Paul Pogba. France dropped their form soon after their 3rd goal and took the game lightly which allowed a Swiss comeback in the 90th minute with goals from Seferovic and Gavranovic forcing the game into extra time and subsequently into penalties. Kylian Mbappe stepped up to take France’s final penalty which was saved by Swiss hero Sommer taking them into the quarters.

The final round of 16 match day on the 29th of July started with the Germans taking on England. Raheem sterling and Harry Kane were on the scoresheet for England sending them through with a 2-0 win on the night. The English defence have not conceded a goal in their last 6 outings showing their solid form at the back thanks to the likes of John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker. England had scored only 3 goals in their journey to the round of 16 due to lackluster performances from star striker Harry Kane, lucky for England fans he found his way back on to the scoresheet against Germany.

The last match of the round of 16 stage was between Ukraine and Sweden. Man City’s left back Zinchenko opened the scoring which took Ukraine into the lead, but Sweden equalised with a long range strike from Emile Forsberg which took the game into extra time. The match looked to be heading to penalties as the scores were level at the 120th minute until super sub Artem Dovbyk headed home a cross from the left flank in the dying minute to take Ukraine through to the final 8.

The quarter finals start on 2nd July. Switzerland will be taking on Spain while dark horses Italy will face an in-form Belgium. On the 3rd of July, Czech Republic will take on Denmark and Ukraine will take on England.

( The writer is a student based in Oman)