After the last Match Day of the Round of 16, the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament shows the following results and reviews.
Tuesday 29 June
R16 Match 7: England 2-0 Germany (London)
R16 Match 8: Sweden 1-2 Ukraine (aet) (Glasgow)
A 55-year-old jinx was broken yesterday as England defeated Germany 2-0 to end a long wait of defeating Die Mannschaft in the knockout stage of any major competition. We made it clear yesterday that at this point of the tournament, goals matter more than football artistry or ball possession.
In the first match of the day, Match 7 of the Round of 16, England and Germany both played same 3-5-2 formation which saw them end the first stanza in a deadlock. Jordan Pickford was in his elements on the evening as he thwarted Timo Werner’s effort in the first haft and also denied Kai Havertz with a tip-over just after the break. But with 15 minutes left to play, the Three Lions took over the proceedings with Raheem Sterling emphatically slotting in after Harry Kane and Jack Grealish had worked Luke Shaw into a crossing position down the left. Die Mannschaft missed a golden opportunity to go level when Thomas Muller shot wide in a one-on-one against Pickford. This miss was punished when Kane stooped to head home Grealish’s cross and consequently condemn Joachim Löw to defeat in his final game at the helm of German national team.
A closer look at the employed tactics would reveal Gareth Southgate coming to the party with a joker, a talisman. Over the last four games, Jack Grealish has proven to be more of an impact player than a starter as he tends to change the game any time he came in. captain Harry Kane has seemed off-key throughout the competition but the gaffer still kept faith in him, most probably, because of his leadership role on and off the pitch. Another factor is that Kane is a brilliant positioner as he runs into good positions when expecting a pass and most especially within the box. This paid off for England in the second goal.
Another point to note is that inasmuch as England is not scoring much, they are not conceding either and that matters most. They are the only team in the tournament still maintaining a clean sheet in the tournament. Little wonder why Harry Maguire won the Heineken Star of the Match as, according to Aitor Karanka, UEFA Technical Observer, “He kept the balance of the team in defence and showed great leadership on the pitch.” The team gave a super convincing display building from the back most often with Sterling taking the Germans on the long runs.
Arguably, this is the worst German team since after winning the 2014 World Cup on 13th July, 2014 at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From that point, the team kept declining till what we have today. The Germans, simply, could not have won the match because they did not create realistic chances.
In the second and last match, Match 8, of the Round of 16, Artem Dovbyk’s first international goal took Ukraine into a first EURO quarter-final with the substitute heading in during the final seconds of extra time to see off ten-man Sweden at Hampden Park, Scotland.
With Andriy Shevchenko guiding Ukraine into their first EURO knockout game against Sweden, it was a bright start for both teams as they threatened the post either end, early on. It was Ukraine that struck first in the 27th minute with Andriy Yarmolenko working the ball on to his left foot and curling a sumptuous pass with the outside of his boot for Oleksandr Zinchenko to power a shot that beat Swedish keeper, Robin Olsen. By the 43rd minute, Sweden responded with an equalizer when Alexander Isak found Emil Forsberg just outside the area and his well-struck shot deflected off Illia Zabarnyi on its way past Georgiy Bushchan.
The second half saw both teams trying to outdo each other. Serhiy Sydorchuk’s shot hit the outside of the post, same as Emil Forsberg’s shot that rattled the upright when played in by Isak some seconds later. A challenge on Artem Besedin in the first additional period saw Marcus Danielson pick up a red card and put Sweden on a discomforted position. With the additional 30 minutes exhausted and 2 minutes added as extra time for the half, Ukraine upped their tempo and were rewarded when Zinchenko’s tailor-made cross was headed in by substitute Dovbyk to spark wild celebrations for the Blue and Yellow.
Ukraine therefore went into their first EURO quarter-final with their only previous major quarter-final being a 3-0 defeat to eventual winners Italy at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Ukraine is yet to keep a clean sheet at EURO finals, conceding at least once in each of their ten games.
Emil Forsberg has become the first Swedish player to score four goals at a single EURO tournament and has matched Tomas Brolin’s national record of scoring in three successive EURO finals games for Sweden.
At the end of the last set of group matches, the following statistics are available:
- 44 matches have been played out of 51 matches
- 123goals have been scored in all with an average of 2.80 goals per match and an average scoring time of 32 minutes per goal.
- Spain has taken over the highest number of goals with 11 goals
- Spain maintains the highest possession per game with 67.5%
- Germany maintains the highest passing accuracy with Belgium at 89.3%
- Italy has taken over the highest total attempts at 87
- Germany has taken over the highest tackles at 69
- Austria has taken over the highest ball recovery at 207
- Turkey maintains the highest saves with Wales at 18
- England maintains a 100% clean sheet at 4
Azuka Edokobi is a Writer , a Farmer, a Supply Chain Expert and an Entrepreneur