UEFA Euro 2020: Switzerland shocks France in penalties, Spain battles past Croatia
The 2020 UEFA Euro continued with its pre-quarters stages as shocking results continue to pop up. In a couple of matches, while one of them produced a favourable outcome, another presented a big-time shock. Let us take a look through the round-up.
The element of unpredictability seems to be running high in UEFA Euro 2020, as the pre-quarters stage produced yet another shocking result. While world champion France suffered tough luck, Spain toiled to get a favourable outcome. Meanwhile, we take a look at it all through this round-up from Monday.
Spain earns hard-fought win over Croatia
In the opening game of the evening, former champion Spain took on FIFA World Cup 2018 runner-up Croatia at the Telia Parken in Copenhagen. While the game was expected to be intense, it turned out to be a thriller, too, right from the opening whistle.
In the 20th minute, Croatia opened the scoring following an own goal from Pedri. However, Pablo Sarabia levelled it in the 38th minutes as the deadlock stayed in place at half-time.
The second half turned out to be unexpectedly strong, as César Azpilicueta put Spain ahead in the 57th minute, followed by Ferran Torres, who doubled it with the third in the 77th. However, Croatia refused to give up as Mislav Orsic scored the second for the side in the 85th, followed by Mario Pasalic at the stroke of full time to level it 3-3.
As things entered into extra time, it seemed like Croatia had no gas left, with Spain going all-out in the first half of it. While Álvaro Morata restored Spain’s lead in the 100th, Mikel Oyarzabal doubled it three minutes later to lead at half-time of the half. Meanwhile, Spain played it out defensively in the following half to walk away with a quarterfinal berth.
- Pedri became the youngest to start in a Euro knockout game at 18 years and 215 days.
- Euro 2021 has witnessed nine own goals: the joint-most in a single edition and 2016.
Pedri’s own goal was the longest in the Euro (49 yards) and the first from outside the box.
- Azpilicueta became Spain’s oldest goal-scorer in Euro at 31 years and 304 days.
- Torres is the second youngest (21 years and 120 days) after Cesc Fàbregas (21 years and 37 days) to score and assist in a Euro/World Cup match for Spain.
- Orsic became the first Croatian substitute to score and assist in a Euro/World Cup game.
- Morata scored his fifth goal for Spain in the Euros, tying with the side’s all-time to scorer Fernando Torres.
- Spain becomes the first Euro side to score five-plus goals in successive matches.
- It was the second high-scoring game in Euro (8) after France vs Yugoslavia (9) in 1960.
Swiss does the unthinkable to outlast France
France was up against an unpredictable Switzerland at the Arena Naţională in Bucharest in the second game on Monday. Although France was the outright favourite to see itself through, apparently, Switzerland had other plans.
The opening half saw quite some intensity from both sides. However, Haris Seferovic’s 15th-minute strike put Switzerland ahead, as it led at half-time.
The following half saw Ricardo Rodriguez miss a penalty to double Swiss’s lead in the 55th minute. Consequently, France capitalised on it, as Karim Benzema quickly put the side in the charge with his brace in the 57th and 59th minute.
While Paul Pogba doubled it with the third in the 75th minute, Swissrefused to give up, as Haris Seferovic pulled one back in the 81st, followed by the equaliser from Mario Gavranovic in the 90th, with things moving on to extra time. However, it was to no avail, as despite five promising attempts in both halves, it had to be penalties.
As Swiss started with the shootout, it all went well until France’s Kylian Mbappé decided to take the decisive penalty. However, goalkeeper Yann Sommer did well to deny the Frenchman and pull off its most significant win in Euro to date, to knock out the reigning world champion.
- Antoine Griezmann has played 23 consecutive games for France in Euro/World Cup/Nations League, a record for any Frenchman.
- Steven Zuber of Switzerland came up with his fourth assist in the tournament, the most by any player in a Euro edition.
- Seferovic has become the second Swiss after Hakan Yakin to score in successive Euro matches.
- Hugo Lloris becomes the first French goalkeeper since Fabien Barthez in 2004 to save a regulation time penalty in the Euro.
- Since the World Cup 1954, it was the first time that Swiss managed to score three-plus goals in back-to-back Euro/World Cup matches.
- Monday saw the second-most goals scored in a single day at Euro (14) after June 23 (18).
- Swiss has qualified for any significant quarters for the first time in 67 years, while France has failed to reach the Euro/World Cup quarters for the first time since 2010.
- Mbappe has registered 14 scoring attempts, the most by any player this term without scoring.
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