The action continued in the European Championship as the quarter-finals kicked off with 10-man Switzerland side trying to cause another upset on Friday after they managed to slip gripping game against Spain to penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw in Saint Petersburg.
The Suisse fared worse in the shootout this time – failed with three of its four attempts this time.
Spain were clinical and superb as they kept on their thrust to resist a galvanized Swiss – Mikel Oyarzabal converted the decisive spot kick to clinch a 3-1 shootout victory for the La Roja.
Italy overcame a buoyant Belgium side with 2 – 1 victory in a pulsating contest in Munich to set a semi-final tie against Spain in this year’s summer European tournament.
It was heartache for the World’s number one team earmarked as favorites heading into the tournament.
We project into today’s quarter-final fixtures reliving the glorious and inglorious moments of Friday’s clashes.
Switzerland 1 – 1 Spain (1 – 3 on pens)
Belgium 1 – 2 Italy
Heartbreak for Switzerland and Yann Sommer as Spain squeeze into semis
It was a night of heartaches, mixture of wasteful finishing, inspired goalkeeping from Zommer and heroic Switzerland defending that saw their quarter-final tie against a resilient Spanish side go to penalties in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Despite being down by a man, Switzerland came up with a valiant effort in the 30 extra minutes but Spain held their nerve to seal a berth in the semi-finals. Spain defeated a 10-man Switzerland 3-2 on penalties.
Goalkeeper Yann Sommer came up with a string of diving saves throughout the match to keep the Spanish at bay as the Swiss hung to a 1-1 draw after extra time but Borussia Mönchengladbach stopper’s heroics for 10-man Switzerland proved in vain.
Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon was named man of the match after saving two penalties in the 3-1 shootout win.
La Roja opened accounts in the game very early when Jordi Alba’s shot from outside the box was deflected into his own net by Denis Zakaria.
Xherdan Shaqiri profited from a defensive error to bring the game to 1-1 level, before the Swiss lost midfielder Remo Freuler to a straight red card on 77 minutes.
Luis Enrique’s men increased their thrust, piling on the pressure and asking more questions at the Swiss area but the Nati clung on, throwing their bodies on the line, scrambling to disrupt Spain, and forced the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Spain won the night, breaking Swiss hearts to set up a semi-final battle against Italy on Tuesday 6th July at Wembley Stadium, London.
Azzurri overcome Belgium to advance into Euro 2020 semis
Italy established themselves as firm favorites to win Euro 2020, continuing their invincible run by knocking out World No. 1 Belgium in a glamourous and eye catching quarter-final match-up in Munich on Friday.
Belgium were earmarked as favorites heading into the tournament and have lived up to the tag as they qualified for the quarter-finals, knocking out reigning European Championship holders Portugal with a 1-0 victory in Seville.
But goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Nicolo Barella just before the break gave Italy 2-0 lead while Romelu Lukaku’s goal from the sport was not enough as Italy beat Roberto Mancini’s side in a fiercely-contested match.
Italy went 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute after Insigne’s free-kick from the right of the box deflected into the net. But a VAR check ruled Chiellini in an off-side position when the free-kick was taken and when he deflected it to Bonucci.
Italy opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Barella picked up the ball, forced his way past defenders in the area and fired home.
Insigne added a second with an awe-inspiring curler in the 44th minute after collecting the ball on the left and skipping beyond a defender before unleashing a long-range shot that flew past Thibaut Courtois.
Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for the Red Devils from the penalty spot just before the break after Giovanni Di Lorenzo put an arm on Jeremy Doku and pushed him to the ground.
Both teams were impressive after restart, a mixture of wasteful chances kept coming in, the best of them for Belgium but in the end it the Italian gladiators were the last ones standing at Munich’s football Coliseum.
Italy set up a Spanish tie at Wembley Stadium, London on Tuesday July 6.
The quarter-final berth of the 2020 European Championship concludes on Saturday July 3,2021 when Czech Republic and Denmark lock horns in Baku whiles England take on Ukraine in Rome with semi-final spot on line.
Czech Republic vs Denmark in Baku 4PM
After a stunning display that dumped the Netherlands out in the Round of 16, the Czech Republic now face a formidable Denmark in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
The Danes head into this match up with the heart of Erikksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s group stage opener against Finland in the Euros.
Both teams have grown stronger as the tournament has progressed, and now they are all set to go head-to-head and will be eyeing a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2020, welcoming back injured key players tonight.
In their last 5 meetings, Denmark has won 1 over the Czech Republic while the other 4 games ended in draws.
Ukraine vs England in Rome 7PM
England ride on a wave of positivity after their win over arch-rivals Germany and will face Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine in Rome this evening.
The Three Lions sunk their old rivals Germany 2-0 to book their place in the last eight of the tournament, while surprise package Ukraine enjoyed a pulsating extra-time win over Sweden last time out.
England is in good form in European Championship and they head into this game as favorites as they also look forward to continue their unbeatable run in the major tournament.
Andriy Shevchenko’s side struggled in the group stage, picking just three points from a possible nine, but were much improved against Sweden in the round of 16 and they look forward to cause an upset in Rome to seal last 8 spot.
Ukraine have won only one of their seven matches against England , drawn 2 and lost 4.
Acknowledgement: Betway Ghana (Headline Sponsor)
Mark F. | SilverFM