After the first two matches of the quarter finals, the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament shows the following results and reviews.
Friday 2 July
QF1: Switzerland 1-1 Spain (aet, Spain won 3-1 on pens) (St Petersburg)
QF2: Belgium 1-2 Italy (Munich)
Spain and Italy are in the semi finals after defeating Switzerland and Belgium respectively. After saving two spot kicks, Unai Simón, helped Spain go past a dexterous Swiss side whose keeper, Yann Sommer, denied Spain victory in open play. It was sweet victory for Italy as they showed class and superiority over Belgium, dominating every aspect of the game.
In the first match of the quarter finals, Spain equaled their highest ever EURO goals tally to bring Switzerland’s remarkable EURO 2020 run to a close, winning on penalties to book their first spot in a major tournament semi-final since 2012.
Switzerland presented a compact team that sat deep from onset allowing Spain to dictate pace. A deflection by Denis Zakaria, off a Jordi Alba-riffled-thunderbolt, gifted Spain the opener in the 8th minute. This seemed to gear the Nati to momentum as they kept piling up pressure on La Roja and this paid off in the 68th minute when Xherdan Shaqiri restored parity off a Remo Freuler brilliant feed after he pounced on a blunder between Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte. Freuler later saw red in the 77th minute after a dangerous challenge and the Swiss had to struggle with this.
Luis Enrique’s men continued to pressurize the Nati in search of the winning goal but the latter clung on, throwing their bodies on the line, scrambling to disrupt Spain, and forced the match into a penalty shoot-out. So brilliant was Sommer in goal as he virtually frustrated the efforts of La Roja.
In the ensuing shoot-out, Spanish Unai Simón saved from Fabian Schär and Manuel Akanji, while Ruben Vargas blasted over, allowing Oyarzabal to send Spain into the semi-finals.
In the second match, Lorenzo Insigne’s splendid finish from the edge of the box made the difference as Italy edged out Belgium to win an enthralling UEFA EURO 2020 quarter-final and set up a semi-final blockbuster against Spain.
The Belgians came into the game looking sharper than their Italian counterparts despite missing Eden Hazard due to injury. The Azzurri had a goal by Leonardo Bonucci ruled offside early on, but Nicolo Barella gave them the breakthrough in the 31st minute when we freed himself from two challengers to fire past Thibaut Courtois.
Italy made it two on the 44th minute when Lorenzo Insigne bent a glorious shot past Courtois from the edge of the box. Belgium took one back when Romelu Lukaku (45+2’) scored from the spot after Giovanni Di Lorenzo upended Jeremy Doku in the box.
At the end of the last set of group matches, the following statistics are available:
- 46 matches have been played out of 51 matches
- 128 goals have been scored in all with an average of 2.79 goals per match and an average scoring time of 32 minutes per goal.
Saturday 3 July
QF3: Czech Republic vs Denmark (18:00, Baku)
QF4: Ukraine vs England (21:00, Rome)
Azuka Edokobi is a Writer , a Farmer, a Supply Chain Expert and an Entrepreneur