After Match Day 3 of the Round of 16, the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament shows the following results and review.
Monday 28 June
R16 Match 5: Croatia 3-5 Spain (aet) (Copenhagen)
R16 Match 6: France 3-3 Switzerland (aet, Switzerland win 5-4 on pens) (Bucharest)
It was goals galore yesterday as 14 goals were scored in two matches that need the extra time to produce winners. We were presented with a Euro championship that is living up to its billing. This tournament is gradually proving bookmakers wrong after predicting tournament favourites. At this moment of the competition, what matters is goals not artistry. Whatever tactical approach that does not produce goals is dead in itself.
In the first match of the day, Match 5 of the Round of 16, Spain were put on their toes as the Croats put up a late show to equalize 3-3 with a Mario Pasalic added time goal (90+2’). Spain had to come back to the extra time with the baggage they left on the sidelines to win the game at 5-3, making it the second-highest-scoring game in EURO history. That extra time made the Croats look out of sorts, lacking ideas in every department and the inspiration from legendary captain, Luca Modric, seemingly gone. He was actually gasping for breath all through the extra time and easily gave the balls away. Luis Enrique is gradually proving a point as he progresses into the tournament as his young lads tend to gel better with each passing game.
In the second match, Match 6 of the Round of 16, Yann Sommer saved the final spot kick from Kylian Mbappé to eliminate Les Bleus, the reigning world champions, on penalties.
With a towering header by Haris Seferovic which beat Hugo Lloris, Switzerland proved the 3-man defence deployed by Didier Deschamps as unfamiliar to Les Bleus as they struggled to adapt to it. France came back to the match in the second half when Hugo Lloris saved Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty to boost momentum for the French team. With two quick goals from Karim Benzema (57’ and 59’) and a third by Paul Pogba (75’), Les Bleus took over proceedings and were apparently cruising to victory.
Switzerland pulled one back late through another Seferović header and, just when it seemed France had done enough to edge this last-16 thriller, Mario Gavranović rifled a dramatic equalizer from outside the box to force extra time. Kylian Mbappé not only spurned the best chance of the additional 30 minutes, but missed his spot kick as he was denied by Yann Sommer in the ensuing shoot-out after both teams had produced nine successful kicks. It was an unforgettable night for the Vladimir Petković-tutored Nati who sent the world champions, France, out of the competition.
At the end of the last set of group matches, the following statistics are available:
- 42 matches have been played out of 51 matches
- 118 goals have been scored in all with an average of 2.81 goals per match and an average scoring time of 32 minutes per goal.
Tuesday 29 June
R16 Match 7: England vs Germany (18:00, London)
R16 Match 8: Sweden vs Ukraine (21:00, Glasgow)
Azuka Edokobi is a Writer , a Farmer, a Supply Chain Expert and an Entrepreneur