The European Championship has been nothing short of phenomenal, from many big nations crashing out, to England finally beating Germany, there’s been anything and everything for football fans around the world to enjoy this summer. The best part about all of this is it’s only the Quarterfinals, so, let’s look at all the chaos and shocks that the Euro 2020 Quarterfinals had in store for us.
Euro 2020 Quarterfinals
The four matches of the Quarterfinals were all enthralling. There was drama, penalties shootouts, European giants going head to head, underdogs moving on, and an English explosion. Without further ado, here is all that happened in the Euro 2020 Quarterfinals.
Switzerland 1-1 Spain – Spain win 3-1 via penalties
The first game of the Quarterfinals was between Spain and Switzerland. Spain were coming off an extra time vs Croatia, whilst Switzerland were coming off a penalties win against France. The game started quickly for Spain and they pinned Switzerland back into their own final third. Within 10 minutes, Spain had the lead after a deflected Jordi Alba volley went in past goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
It looked like it was set to be a long afternoon for Switzerland and things went from bad to worse when star player, Breel Embolo, was forced off with an injury. Spain didn’t let go of the advantage they had in the game and they kept attacking relentlessly. Gerard Moreno had a couple chances but mishit them both, and a few great saves from Yann Sommer somehow kept the scoreline at 1-0, going into half time.
Spain started well in the second half, but they seemed a little less intense when moving forward, which gave Switzerland hope and a way to get back into the game. Switzerland’s luck turned for the good for the first time in the game, as Xherdan Shaqiri benefitted off the ball bouncing off both Spain centre back, rolling to his feet, which put him 1-on-1 with Simon in goal, who he put the shot past to put Switzerland level.
This woke both teams up and put some more life into the game, as both teams went searching for a winning goal. However, that life was quickly sapped out of the game again, when Swiss holding midfielder Remo Freuler was, very harshly, sent off for a tackle. This meant the Swiss would have to play the remaining 22 minutes down to 10 men.
Switzerland defended valiantly for those 22 minutes and without some fantastic saves from goalkeeper Yann Sommer, they’d have conceded a few more goals and the game would be over. However, the Swiss found a way to survive and forced the game to extra time.
Extra time was just a bombardment of Spanish attacks. Gerard Moreno was the one who had the best chances fall his way, but he was struggling to get a good contact with the ball and missed his chances. Others fell to other Spanish players, however Yann Sommer was there again to keep his team and nation in the game. Without him, the game would have been over already but the Swiss had found a way to force the game to penalties, just like the France game in the previous round.
The penalty shootout was a horrible advert for the game, as most players were taking horrible penalties that were saved by both goalkeepers. Busquets started the shootout by softly hitting his penalty into the left post, Gavranovic followed by putting his penalty away smartly. Dani Olmo scored his penalty confidently before Fabian Schar saw his penalty comfortably saved by Simon. Rodri saw his penalty saved well by Yann Sommer but Akanji failed to take advantage and hit a horrible penalty that was saved by Simon. Gerard Moreno finally found the back of the net with his penalty and then youngster Vargas fired his penalty over the bar. Mikel Oyarzabal had the chance to finish the game with Spain’s 5th penalty and he took the chance.
Switzerland fought valiantly and Yann Sommer impressed once again but all his heroics went to waste as they crash out in the Quarterfinals whilst Spain go onto the Semifinals to face the winner of Belgium vs Italy.
Belgium 1-2 Italy
In the blockbuster game of the Quarterfinals, world number 1 Belgium took on the most impressive team of the tournament so far, Italy. Belgium were coming off an impressive win against Portugal, whilst Italy had just beaten Austria in extra time. Italy started the game off as the more confident of the two, pinning Belgium back into their own final third. Italy thought they took the lead after 14 minutes, when Bonucci bundled home a cross via a free-kick. However, VAR ruled him offside as it took a slight touch off another Italian player before Bonucci put it away.
This was a wake up call for Belgium, who tried to get back into the game but they just couldn’t find a way past this sturdy Italian defense. Italy grew more and more confident with every attack and they finally had the first breakthrough in the 31st minute after Inter Milan midfielder, Nicolo Barella, smartly turned inside the box, got past three defenders and finished emphatically to put Italy 1-0 up.
Instead of trying to open up more and attack Italy more, Belgium seemed to lose any confidence they had and sat back even further, they just couldn’t find a way to link their defense with Lukaku up top. Things got even worse for Belgium and Lorenzo Insigne skinned his man, cut inside and struck a wonderful, curling shot into the far corner, past Courtois and put Italy 2-0 up. We have yet another goal of the tournament contender.
With how everything had unfolded with in the first 44 minutes, everyone had the feeling that Italy had secured the win with that fantastic Insigne goal, however, there was a little more drama left in the first half. In added time, youngster Doku made a run into the box and was slightly pushed in the back, he went down and the referee gave a penalty. Lukaku stepped up and dispatched the penalty to put Belgium within one, right on the stroke of half time.
The second half was a much more even affair, with Belgium gaining a lot of confidence from the penalty in added time of the first half. However, Italy knew they may need another goal to secure the win and both sides were engaged in an end-to-end battle. Italy had some half chances in the second half but it was Belgium who had two great chances to get level.
The first was a beautiful run from Doku. The youngster was highly impressive against such a tough opposition and didn’t look out of place, whatsoever. He made a great run through the middle of the field before unleashing a shot on goal. Unfortunately for Belgium, the shot was just a little too high and it sailed over the bar.
The second chance was a golden one and it fell to star striker Romelu Lukaku. After a great run down the wing, the ball was played across the box and it fell to Lukaku, all he had was an open goal in front of him and a recovering Spinazzola, he had a shot and it was going in, but somehow hit Spinazzola’s leg and stayed out.
Italy had a few small chances, including a chance for Insigne to recreate his wonder goal in the first half, but their defense was the reason they won the game in the end. They were simply unbeatable in the second half and whilst Belgium went close a couple times, came out with the win. In my eyes, it’s their tournament to lose. Although, for Italy, it doesn’t get any easier as they go on to face Spain, in the Semifinals, at Wembley.
Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark
The first Quarterfinals game of Saturday saw two underdogs of the tournament do battle, Denmark and Czech Republic. The Czechs were coming off an impressive 2-0 upset of the Netherlands, whilst the Danish were coming off a 4-0 battering of Wales. Denmark started the game off with real intention and drive to score first and that’s exactly what they did from a corner in the 5th minute. Thomas Delaney just stood, wide open, on the penalty spot and powered a header home, it was truly abysmal defending from the Czechs, who looked so good defensively against the Netherlands.
The Czechs really struggled to get any foot into the game as the Danish were just coming forward, again and again, relentlessly. Delaney had another open header from a corner, but missed his chance, and Joakim Maehle was causing all sorts of problems down that Danish left wing. It looked like the Czechs would go in at half-time, just one goal down, however Joakim Maehle put in a world-class ball to the box, with the outside of his foot, which landed at Dolbergs feet and he finished from just a few yards out to put the Danish in complete control of the game.
The Czechs really needed to get back into the game quickly and get a foothold into the game in the second half and that’s exactly what they did when Patrik Schick finished smartly for his 5th of the tournament, joint top with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Czechs had around 40 minutes to find an equaliser, and they definitely controlled the ball more in the second half. However, the Danish were very threatening on the counter-attack and they almost found a third on a number of occasions.
The Czechs just couldn’t find a way through and the Danish grew more and more confident in the second half, in the end, they managed to keep hold of their lead and win the game 2-1. The Danish go on to the Semifinals, at Wembley, against the winners of England vs Ukraine.
England 4-0 Ukraine
The final game of the Quarterfinal round was a game between one of the favourites and one of the underdogs, England and Ukraine. England were coming off the back of an impressive, and almost historic win, against Germany, whilst Ukraine were coming off an impressive win against Sweden. England started the game with blazing speed and took the lead in the 3rd minute, when Raheem Sterling slipped Harry Kane in, who finished smartly to put the English up 1-0.
Many expected Ukraine to lose their heads here and concede a few goals in a short amount of time, but the opposite happened, Ukraine grew back into the game and enjoyed a big spell of possession. During that time, Ukraine had a great chance when Yaremchuk was slipped through, put Pickford saved comfortably.
The rest of the first half was pretty lackluster, England were happy to slow the game down, whilst Ukraine just couldn’t find a way through England’s defensive system. Declan Rice had a thunderous strike from outside the box saved well and that was about it for the first half.
Ukraine should have come out confident for the second half but the opposite happened and this is where it all fell apart for them. Within 5 minutes of the restart, England had a second when Maguire hammered home a header after a wonderful ball in the box from Luke Shaw. 4 minutes later and England had a third, this time Harry Kane got his second of the game after some lovely build-up play between Sterling and Shaw allowed Shaw to put another great ball into the box, for Kane to simply head home.
Harry Kane was back to his normal, superstar self and he almost had a hattrick but his wonder shot from a fair distance out was expertly saved by Bushchan. Unfortunately for Bushchan, his save was wasted as England had their 4th and final goal of the game from the resulting corner. Mason Mount put the corner into the box and substitute, Jordan Henderson, was there to put the ball home for his first-ever goal in an England shirt.
Ukraine had completely lost any fight or confidence they had and they just strolled to the final whistle, whilst England were happy to make changes, rest legs and coast their way to an easy 4-0 win. England are now through to a Semifinal, at Wembley, against Denmark.
Here come the semifinals!
The last four of this tournament are set! There are two favorites to make the final, a sleeping European giant that seems to have woken up, and a true underdog left. Here’s a look at the matchups and when/where to watch.
- Italy vs Spain | Tuesday, July 6 @ 3:00 pm EST | ESPN
- England vs Denmark | Wedensday, July 7 @ 3:00 pm EST | ESPN
Will the favorites of these four make it to the final? Or could we see yet another shakeup in this amazingly crazy tournament?
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Mandatory Credit: Moritz Muller/Imago/Icon Sportswire