It remains to be seen if Euro 2020 belongs to Europe’s footballing powerhouses remaining in the competition or if one of the teams whom nobody thought likely would emerge tops as it has been a competition of major upsets.
I doubt if anyone would have predicted that none of The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Portugal would compete in the quarter-final stage of Euro 2020. At least, not after the supposedly easy fixtures they were handed in the round of 16 stages, or so we thought.
I wrote an article some days back, analyzing the chances of the sides that finished third in the group stages against the supposed favorites who topped their groups.
Well. we are now in the last 8 of the competition and three of those best losers are accounted for whilst three group stage winners from the ongoing Euro 2020 competition have been eliminated.
THE CZECH REPUBLIC VS THE NETHERLANDS
The Czech Republic finished third in Group D which comprised England, Croatia, and Scotland. They were drawn to face The Netherlands in the round of 16 who topped Group C comprising Austria, Ukraine, and North Macedonia.
Well, the Czechs made their good H2H records against the Dutch team count for something as they beat them 2 nil to progress and will face another Denmark in the quarter-finals.
FRANCE VS SWITZERLAND
The Swiss team came from 2 goals down to equalize and eliminate France 5:4 on penalties. They finished third in Group A which comprised Italy, Wales, and Turkey.
France, on the other hand, topped the supposed group of death of Euro 2020. They won Group F ahead of Germany, Portugal, and Hungary.
However, they fell like a pack of cards against the Swiss even after seeing things work in their favor considering that the latter missed a chance to go 2 nil up in the game via a missed penalty.
The French side equalized and went 3:1 up but it was all tears for them eventually. The Swiss team will face another favorite Spain on July 2.
SWEDEN VS UKRAINE
Ukraine dramatically eliminated Sweden in the last game of the round. The Ukrainians won the game in added time in the second half of extra time with few minutes to go to a penalty shootout.
Ukraine finished third in Group C which comprised The Netherlands, Austria, and North Macedonia whilst Sweden topped Group E which comprised heavyweight Spain, Poland, and Slovakia.
They will now face England in the next stage in what will be a daunting task. Regardless, the Three Lions should underrate them at their peril.
Only one third-placed side from the group stages failed to make it to the quarter-finals and it was Portugal who finished third in the Group of death. They were beaten 1 nil by Belgium who won the group with a 100% record.
I believe that there are more upsets on the cards in this competition. Meanwhile, there is a balance between the favorites and the underdogs even in this stage of the competition. We wait to how things pan out.