The group stage of the 2020 European Championship is over and we know who has made it through to the Round of 16. Now the competition really heats up as it’s the knockout stages, one game, winner goes through to the Quarter Finals. Let review all of the action from the Euro 2020 Round of 16 and find out which teams are going through, and which teams are heading home!
Euro 2020 Round of 16
Knockout matches are always enthralling affairs, but the Euro 2020 Round of 16 gave us some very memorable matches. From underdogs moving on in dominant fashion, to champions getting pushed to penalties. This tournament has been nothing short of must-see sporting events. Without further ado, here’s a look back at every match from the Round of 16.
Wales 0-4 Denmark
The first game of the round of 16 saw Denmark take on Wales, a clash that both teams were very capable of winning, however, that wasn’t the case in the actual game. Wales were all-out attack in the first 15 minutes or so, with a Bale shot going just wide of the left post and a few other half chances. However, Wales started to slow down a little and Denmark started to come back into the game. Denmark struck first through Kasper Dolberg, who replaced an injured Yousef Poulsen, on 27 minutes as Dolberg produced some wonderful work on the left wing, cut inside, and finished beautifully from around 20 yards out.
Denmark continued to dominate Wales for the remainder of the first half but managed to keep Denmark at bay until halftime. The second half started and the Welsh had a nightmare start when Kasper Dolberg doubled Denmarks lead just a few minutes after the restart. Whilst there was a blatant foul in the build-up, Wales didn’t play to the whistle and an awful clearance attempt was sliced straight to Dolberg, who finished calmly for his, and Denmarks 2nd goal.
With a 2 goal deficit to come back from, Wales tried to get back into the game but they couldn’t get past a very confident Denmark side who had all the momentum going their way. Denmark killed the game in the 88th minute when left-back, Joakim Maehle, who’s been one of the standout players at this summer’s tournament, broke into the Welsh box, cut inside, and finished wonderfully into the corner.
In the 90th minute Harry Wilson, who was subbed on in the second half, received a straight red card for a challenge that really didn’t deserve a red card. That’s the second awful, red card decision Wales has been on the unfortunate end of. Denmark added insult to injury when Martin Braithwaite scored a 4th goal in added time, there were doubts about whether he was onside but VAR confirmed the goal and Wales went crashing out of the tournament, whilst Denmark goes on to face the winners of the Czech Republic vs the Netherlands.
Italy 2-1 Austria – AET
The second game of the round of 16 was between inform Italy and Austria. The first half was a pretty boring watch, to be perfectly honest with you. Italy was controlling the ball but wasn’t really doing anything with it, apart from a really good Immobile strike from 25 yards out, which rattled the crossbar. Austria threatened a few times on the counter-attack, with striker Marko Arnautovic having their best chance when he broke through but fired a volley high and wide.
Austria came out on fire for the second half and was really taking the game to Italy, pushing forward and playing some really good, attacking football. Everyone thought Austria had taken the lead in the 67th minute when Marko Arnautovic struck in the box, but VAR determined Arnautovic was slightly offside and the goal was ruled out. There was another VAR check for a penalty but VAR determined there wasn’t one to give and we headed into extra time.
Italy manager Roberto Mancini made 4 subs in the second half, bringing on some of the players who shined against the Welsh in their final group stage game, including Matteo Pessina and Federico Chiesa. These turned out to be tactical masterstrokes from the Italian.
5 minutes into extra time and Italy took the lead through a magnificent solo effort from substitute Juventus forward Federico Chiesa. A ball into the box was taken down brilliantly by Chiesa, who flicked the ball onto his left foot and side, half-volleyed the ball past the keeper and into the far corner.
From there, Austria committed men forward to try and keep their Euro dreams alive and had a couple of great chances, especially for Marcel Sabitzer who fired over the bar from close range. In the 105th minute, substitute midfielder Matteo Pessina put the dagger in the hearts of Austrians as he finished from range, a goal that ended up being the winner.
Austria pushed forward once again and they did manage to get a goal back with around 6 minutes left, through substitute big man Sasa Kalajdzic, who finished smartly at the front post from a corner. However, they didn’t have enough time to get another, and Italy squeezes through to the Quarter Finals and will play the winners of Belgium vs Portugal.
Netherlands 0-2 Czech Republic
The round of 16 carried on rolling on Sunday as the Netherlands took on the Czech Republic. The first half was a fairly open affair with both sides having some decent chances to take the lead but failing to take them. The Netherlands were playing their open, flowing, attacking football with right back Dumfries being the main ball carrier, whilst the Czechs played a structured system and looked to take advantage of the chances that came their way.
The second half started at the same pace as the first as it was a pretty open game of football. However, things took a turn for the worse for the Netherlands as Matthijs De Ligt slipped under pressure from Czech striker Patrik Schick and purposely handled the ball on the way down, to stop Schick from going through on goal, uncontested. The referee initially gave a yellow card but after VAR told him to go to the pitchside monitor, the call was overturned and De Ligt was sent off.
From here the Netherlands couldn’t play their usual, open-flowing football, but they still insisted to, which ultimately cost them in the 68th minute, when Tomas Holes scored for the Czechs to take the lead. The Netherlands committed men forward, to try and get a goal back, but being down to 10 men meant spaces were left open at the back, and in the 80th minute, Patrik Schick scored the Czechs second goal, to seal the deal and the biggest upset at the tournament so far. The Netherlands were sent home embarrassingly, whilst the Czechs go on to face Denmark in the Quarter Finals.
Belgium 1-0 Portugal
The most anticipated round of 16 game was finally here as Belgium took on defending champions Portugal in a huge game. The first half really didn’t live up to the standards that you would expect from either side. Portugal was on the much better side as Belgium just sat back and let Portugal attack. Ronaldo had a good chance from a freekick, however, Courtois saved well, and Jota had a really good chance that he fired wide, early on in the game. However, a moment of brilliance occurred out of nowhere, just before halftime as Thorgan Hazard cut inside from the left-wing and hammered a 25 yard shot past Patricio to put Belgium up 1-0.
The second half started and Portugal was once again the best of the two sides, Belgium was happy to allow Portugal to pressure them as much as they wanted to and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes that the game turned into an end-to-end affair everyone expected it to be. Joao Felix made a huge difference when he came on during the second half and he had a great chance to put Portugal level, but his header lacked power.
Manchester City centre back Ruben Dias had a great opportunity to put Portugal level too. As a corner came in, Dias burst onto the ball and powerfully headed towards goal. Unfortunately, he’d hit it straight at Courtois, the only place he could miss. Belgium broke a few times with Lukaku playing very well given the lack of supply he had during the game. However, Felix had the last chance of the game in stoppage time, but he scuffed his strike from outside the box, agonizingly wide. Ronaldo and Portugal’s defense of the title have failed, a new champion will be crowned and Belgium goes on to face the inform team of Italy in a blockbuster Quarter-Final game.
Croatia 3-5 Spain – AET
World Cup Finalists Croatia vs an in-form Spain was the first game of an incredible day’s action at the European Championships. Spain started the game on fire and pinned Croatia into their own half for a good portion of the first 20 minutes. Koke had an early chance but hit his 1-on-1 shot straight at the keeper, Morata also had a golden chance to put Spain ahead but completely scuffed his header from 5 yards out.
Then the most bizarre moment of the Euros occurred on the 20th minute when a back pass from around 30 yards out from Pedri to goalkeeper Simon bounced over the keeper’s foot and straight into the back on the Spanish goal, somehow Croatia found themselves 1-0 up. Spain came straight back at Croatia and after a few half chances, and a great initial save from Livakovic, Pablo Sarabia put Spain level on the 38th minute, with a wonderful finish from inside the box.
The second half started and Spain was the better side of the two and it showed when Cesar Azpilicueta put Spain ahead with a wonderful, close-range header from a superb Ferran Torres ball into the box. Croatia started to grow back into the game, searching for an equalizer but Spain seemed to kill the game off in the 76th minute when substitute Pau Torres set up Ferran Torres for Spain’s third.
Then the game got a little bit chaotic, Croatia went on an all-out attack and Spain allowed a lot of unnecessary pressure that gave Croatia some golden chances at making the game interesting. They finally found a breakthrough in the 85th minute when substitute Orsic put Croatia one goal behind with 5 minutes to play, surely they couldn’t do it. Well, they did.
When the game looked all set and done, out of nowhere Croatia found a miraculous equalizer in stoppage time as substitute Mario Pasalic scored and sent the tie to extra time. Unfortunately for Croatia, extra time didn’t bring the same good fortune as the final ten minutes of regular time did. Spain scored 2 goals in 3 minutes, with Alvaro Morata scoring a lovely volley inside the box, followed by a great goal from Mike Oyarzabal to kill the game off and send the Spanish through, where they would face the winners of the next match, France vs Switzerland.
France 3-3 Switzerland – Switzerland win 5-4 on penalties
After the madness that ensued in the previous game, favourites France and underdogs Switzerland had a very tough act to follow but they did so extremely well. The first half was an alright half, Switzerland was in the game way more than France should have been allowing and France was in their usual cruise-control mode, a familiar mode if you watched any of their group stage games. However, 15 minutes into the first half, Haris Seferovic scored a brilliant header to put Switzerland ahead, a scoreline that survived through halftime.
The second half started and France was still not at the races, only cruising around the pitch, playing with no urgency, and letting Switzerland still have great influence in the game. It all went from bad to worse for the French as Switzerland was awarded a penalty 10 minutes into the second half, after a poor tackle from Pavard on Zuber. Realistically, this is where Switzerland should have killed the game off, however, Ricardo Rodriguez’s average penalty was saved by Lloris and the game was still in the balance.
All the momentum was with France, who were woken up from their tournament long slumber when Lloris saved the penalty. They started playing like the world champions they are and within 3 minutes of that penalty save, Benzema had struck twice for France to put them 2-1 up. For one of the goals, Benzema’s first touch was out of this world.
France had finally woken up and it was a scary sight for everyone other than France fans to see, Switzerland had completely lost all hope and the game should have been all over in the 75th minute when Paul Pogba scored a goal of the tournament contender, with a 25-30 yard curling strike right into the top corner. However, Switzerland never gave up.
After pushing insanely hard for a way back into the game, and missing some half chances, Haris Seferovic popped up again with a lovely, powerful header to give his country a lifeline. 10 minutes to go and surely Switzerland can’t do a Croatia. Well, they did.
In the 90th minute, after having a close chance ruled out for offside, Mario Gavranovic raced forward for Switzerland and dispatched a wonderful finish from just outside the box, with 90 minutes gone, to unbelievably send this tie to extra time. There was one little bit of drama left though, as Kingsley Coman fired a volley onto the crossbar with the final kick of the game.
The 30 minutes of extra time was a brilliant, end-to-end affair where both teams had some golden chances to win the game but neither side could find a winner, and for the first time at the Euro’s we headed to penalties. After 9 perfect penalties, and I mean perfect with Paul Pogba’s being my personal favourite, it was on superstar Kylian Mbappe’s shoulders to send the game to sudden death. However, Yann Sommer read Mbappe’s penalty perfectly and the shock of the tournament had been complete, underdogs Switzerland had knocked out the reigning world champions, and favourites for this competition out and had set themselves up for a Quarter Final match against Spain.
England 2-0 Germany
The final day of the Euros round of 16 matchups started off with, arguably, the biggest game of the tournament, as England took on Germany. The first 15 minutes or so saw Germany command the game and England seemed to be on the edge a little. After a little while, the match calmed down and both sides saw great chances denied by the other goalkeepers. First up was Raheem Sterling who had a long-range strike saved by Neuer, followed by Jordan Pickford stopping a Timo Werner shot, after the German forward broke through the middle of England’s defense.
Harry Kane, who had been a passenger for the majority of the tournament so far, had the best chance of the half. After a Sterling run, the ball deflected to Kane, who instead of striking first time with his left foot, took a touch and the ball just ran away from him.
The second half started and both teams didn’t look interested in taking it to the other. England sat off and allowed Germany to have more of the ball, but it wasn’t like they were doing much with it. Jack Grealish came on in the 70th minute and it all changed in England’s favor. Within 5 minutes of being on the pitch, the Aston Villa midfielder found Luke Shaw down the left-wing, who put a lovely cross into the box and Raheem Sterling was there to finish, to put England 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go.
Germany committed men forward, looking for an equalizer and they really should have got one when a stray pass from Sterling found a German player, who slipped Thomas Muller through, 1-on-1 with Pickford. It looked like a certain goal that would take the game to extra time, but to the bewilderment of every person watching the game, Muller put his shot wide of the left post, and the best chance Germany had of getting a goal had somehow died.
With more spaces opening up in the German defense, Grealish was finding more room to create and that’s just what he did for England’s second goal of the game. Grealish put a lovely ball into the box and even in the current form he finds himself in, Harry Kane simply couldn’t miss with a header from a few yards out. England had done it, after the heartbreak of 1990, 1996, and 2010, they’d finally beat Germany in a major tournament and set up a Quarter-Final tie against the winner of Sweden and Ukraine.
Sweden 1-2 Ukraine – AET
The final game of the round of 16 saw two of the tournament’s major underdogs fight it out for a trip to Rome and a game against England in the Quarter Finals. The first half was a pretty entertaining affair with both sides showing good offensive football and structured defending. Ukraine was the first to strike on the 27th minute, as Oleksandr Zinchenko fired a beautiful strike inside the box past the Swedish goalkeeper to put his nation in the lead.
Sweden came straight back at Ukraine though and went looking for a quick equalizer. After a few half chances went by, standout midfielder Emil Forsberg put his nation level with a deflected strike from outside of the box. The teams went in level at the break, 1-1.
The second half started with the same pace as the first, with both teams eagerly looking for a 2nd goal. Ukraine came close first but saw their effort hit the post. Minutes later, goalscorer Emil Forsberg saw his shot agonizingly hit the foot of the post, after some lovely build-up play. The final 15 minutes of the second half quickly died off though, as both teams looked tired and laboured. For the 4th time during the round of 16, we were heading to extra time.
Both teams made a multitude of changes at the start of extra time to add some much-needed fresh legs into the game but neither team really changed from their laboured selves. Tragedy struck in the 99th minute though as Swedish defender, Marcus Danielson was sent off after a horrendous tackle that almost broke the leg of his opponent. VAR was needed to change the card to a red after the ref gave a yellow initially.
The second half of extra was the same as the first, slow-paced but Ukraine were slowly getting closer to a potential winner. With 5 minutes to go, they seemed to find a second wind from somewhere and really tried to use the extra man advantage they had. As it looked certain we were heading for penalties, substitute Artem Dovbyk headed a Zinchenko cross home, to break the hearts of Sweden with mere seconds of extra time left. Ukraine had won it with seconds to spare and go on to face England in Rome, Sweden is sent home heartbroken.
On to the Quarterfinals
The Quarterfinals take place this coming Friday and Saturday! You won’t want to miss any of this action! Now that we know the eight teams who made it through, here’s a look at the matchups:
- Switzerland vs Spain | Friday, July 2nd @ 12:00 pm ET
- Belgium vs Italy | Friday, July 2nd @ 3:00 pm ET
- Czech Republic vs Denmark | Saturday, July 3rd @ 12:00 pm ET
- Ukraine vs England | Saturday, July 3rd @ 3:00 pm ET
There are some truly juicy matches to look forward too! We’ll have you covered at Philly Sports Network looking back at all the action that ensues!
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Mandatory Credit: Moritz Muller/Imago/Icon Sportswire