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The Euro 2020 Round 16 matches provided the thrills not often seen at international tournaments.
It was not only about the number of goals scored, but the overall football quality was exquisite. It’s difficult to put all the drills into words but here’s a brief review of the tournament so far:
Since the kickoff on June, 12th, Euro 2020 matches lived up to the expectations, as we witnessed some mouth-watering clashes among the powerhouses of Europe.
However, the real battlefield is starting now. Even though every national team proved their worth and where they stand in the tournament, the quarterfinals are the real rollercoaster as the champion and the runner ups (France and Portugal) of Euro 2016 ended their journey early.
Italy showed quality and depth
Among all the teams who qualified to the quarterfinals, Italy who dominated -Group A-, winning all their three games, has always been one of the favorite teams
All, Mancini’s side still had to fight hard to earn their qualification to the quarterfinals, as they played extra time against Austria, in a similar scenario to Spain.
While in the group stage, Italy blew away their opponents, their fixture against Austria in the knockout round proved to be a tougher challenge. They had to wait till extra time to score their first goal that came from Federico Chiesa in the 95th minute and they waited longer for Matteo Passina in the 105th minute to secure a 2-1 win and eventually qualified.
Spain was absolute football royal in the last decade, especially during FC Barcelona’s golden era.
“La Roja” won 3 championships in a row with flawless strategy and overwhelmed their opponents from 2008 to 2012. Although Spain wasn’t one of the favorites at the start of the tournament, they managed to prove for a second time in a row that the goal drought is over. Luis Enrique’s side showed sole good attacking qualities, but they still need to improve when losing the ball and work more on their defensive side,
They blew a 3-1 lead against Croatia just to win afterward 5-3, which highlights Spain’s main issue.
World champions lived a nightmare
The current world champions, with all their qualities, were the main favorite to win this tournament. Benzema’s participation made the expectations even higher. However, France’s performance had been less than we expected with 3 draws out of the 4 games.
The Ballon d’or favorite Kylian Mbappé disappointed with a goalless tournament and a poor performance during the four games.
A huge failure. Les Bleus are going home with no glory after having blown the opportunity of achieving a rare World Cup-Euro combination.
The Best Football Night Ever
Let’s say that Croatia vs Spain and France vs Switzerland made us live one of the best football nights in years. We witnessed it all in 1 night: Incredible goals, silly mistakes, penalty shootout, penalty save, an underdog beating a world champion, but most of all, four teams entertained millions with a great display of football.
They made ‘international football’ look beautiful and compensated on last year’s lack of football excitement due to the pandemic.
The current champion is out
Another upset was Portugal’s exit. We can fairly say that the whole team relied on Cristiano Ronaldo to score goals. Moreover, the huge performance of Renato Sanchez was not matched by Diego Jota, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, who underperformed during this tournament and were in the center of a huge Portuguese disappointment.
Netherlands failed their first tough exam
Netherlands, on the other hand, didn’t show enough courage and passion to be qualified. They suffered both from a lack of organization and strategy in the midfield and precision in the attack.
They weren’t challenged enough during the group stage and had to face Czech Republic with 10 men down after Matthis De light got sent off at the start of the second half.
Netherlands couldn’t handle Patrick Schick and Tomas Holes’ incredible form in this tournament and were eliminated after a 2-0 defeat.
2 “black horses”
Switzerland and Czech are two black horses in this Euro with fine strategies and team recognition. Technically, for any tournament like Euros, it’s the solidarity of the whole team together that really matters, instead of focusing on selective players. From that aspect, it’s not a surprise that France left he party early.
Euro 2020 quarter-final fixtures
Belgium vs Italy:
Belgium knocked out the European Champions Portugal in the last 16 and they now have their sights set on the bigger prize.
Unfortunately for them, the suffered from a huge blow while knocking out Portugal: both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are injured.
Belgium will face Italy who dominated during the group stage but needed extra times to beat Austria.
Switzerland VS Spain
After knocking out France in one of the biggest Euro 2020 surprises, Switzerland will now have to face another tough opponent: Spain.
LAROJA seem to have found the right balance and they are currently bookmaker’s favorites to progress.
Denmark vs Czech Republic
Denmark got through the group stage on a wave of emotion after the collapse of Christian Eriksen in their opening game. While they’ve become many people’s sentimental favorites at the Euros, it’s easy to forget they’ve also increasingly been playing some brilliant football even without their best player. With a solid midfield, a great team spirit and some flair high quality players, they are the ultimate dark horse.
Meanwhile Czech Republic caused another big shock of the tournament so far when they knocked out the Netherlands.
Denmark seem to be slightly favorite, but Czech Republic won’t be an easy task for them.
England vs Ukraine
England made a smooth advance from the group stage with 2 wins and 1 draw. The 2-0 win over their traditional rival Germany showed that they are going to be tough for anyone to beat and told everything we need to know about whether Gareth Southgate’s men are the real deal.
The win against Germany in Wembley was their first in almost 55 years, which says a lot about The three Lions intentions during this tournament.
Considering Ukraine’s last performance against Sweden, and the fact that they played for a further 30 minutes on Tuesday night, England shouldn’t have too much trouble getting through to the next round.
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