The EURO quarter finals have some great games for viewers lined up as it gets closer and closer to the final.
There were some exciting games with contenders clashing as multiple tournament favorites fell apart while some underdogs have risen to the challenge.
After an exciting round of 16, the quarter finals would have to live up to the hype as it gets close to the final. As the field gets smaller and smaller, a few contenders are making their cases for the trophy more clear. There have also been a few underdogs who are still looking to upset some of the bigger teams and the best example may be Denmark.
Switzerland VS Spain
Switzerland and Spain would open up play for the quarter finals with both teams feeling that their chances of making the next round were pretty good. Switzerland had just beaten favorites France but captain, and the best player against France, Granit Xhaka was suspended for this game due to yellow card accumulation. While Spain was coming off a win against Croatia, but their team seems to be gelling at the right time.
Despite a pretty even first ten minutes, Spain would get the opener after Jordi Alba’s shot would richot off Denis Zakaria. Both teams would come off that goal with more urgency to kill the game off for Spain and tie the game for Switzerland. The half would ultimately end 1-0 with Spain in control of the game but Switzerland were definitely not out of it.
The second half would open up much like the first half went with both teams coming close to scoring. Switzerland would find their equalizer through Xherdan Shaqiri after a Spanish error and pass from Remo Freuler. Less than ten minutes after the goal, Freuler would get sent off for a strong tackle but this advantage wouldn’t pay off for Spain as the game would end 1-1.
With the game ending 1-1, extra time beckoned with Switzerland playing for penalties while Spain looked for the winning goal. Neither team would find the winner meaning that penalties awaited them.
Spain would miss their first penalty after Segio Busquets’ penalty shot off the post with Switzerland making their next one. Switzerland would miss all their next penalties while Spain would miss only one, meaning that Spain were through to play the winner of Italy and Belgium.
Belgium VS Italy
Easily the most anticipated match of the quarter finals with two of the favorites playing against each other with one destined to being knocked out. Belgium had both good news and bad news coming into the game with Kevin De Bruyne being fit for the game but unfortunately Eden Hazard was to miss the match. Meanwhile Italy has played the best soccer of the tournament with only one goal conceded and no losses.
Both teams opened the half with good chances but it was Italy that would strike first with Nicolò Barella after helping win the ball back near the box and dribbling past the Belgian defense. Italy would add one more with Lorenzo Insigne curling a shot from far out to put it past the Belgian keeper. Belgium would pull one back with Romelu Lukaku putting in a penalty after Jérémy Doku was taken down in the box.
The game was still very much in the air as the second half opened with Belgium feeling the urgency to score but Italy wasn’t content to sit back as they continuously countered the Belgian attack. Unfortunately for Italy, their best player of the tournament Leonardo Spinazzola would tear his ACL and would be ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Belgium would get more and more chances towards the end but were unable to put that final goal away leading to Italy to go through and play Spain.
Czech Republic VS Denmark
The Czech Republic and Denmark would open another day of quarter finals as the winner of this game would play the winner of Ukraine and England. Off a surprise win against the Netherlands, the Czech Republic have continued their surprise run in the tournament and will look to win. Denmark have recovered well since the horrifying Eriksen moment in the group stage.
Within the first five minutes of the half, Denmark would get their goal through Thomas Delaney as he would head in the first corner of the match. Both teams would have some good chances but it was Denmark who were the better of the two sides. Denmark would add one more goal before the half with Kasper Dolberg volleying in Joakim Mæhle’s cross.
The Czech Republic would come out of the half energized and would pull one goal back through one of the stars of the tournament in Patrick Schick. Both teams would again have great chances with Denmark refusing to sit back and defend. The game would ultimately end 2-1 for Denmark, setting them up to play the winner of England and Ukraine.
Ukraine VS England
Ukraine and England would end the quarter finals in a game that looked to be rather one sided with England as the heavy favorites. As the underdogs, Ukraine looked to prove to be difficult to beat as their defensive shape looked strong in the match against Sweden. While England are perhaps the favorites of the tournament, they saw this game as a way to further flex their strength.
England would quickly have the lead as Harry Kane would score after Raheem Sterling would split the Ukrainian defense. Ukraine would grow more and more into the game but it was clear that England had full control of the game. Although the game was tied, it felt that it was only a matter of time before England expanded on their lead.
Within the first minute of the second half, Harry Maguire would head in a free kick to further extend the English lead. Kane would add another goal as he gets closer to the top scorer of the tournament and Jordan Henderson would add a fourth. England would end the game 4-0 as they will play Denmark with them cementing themselves as the favorites for the trophy.
Featured Image: Mike Hewitt/ Pool EFE