1) England (up 1)
Gareth Southgate’s team progressed to the semi-finals with a nearly complete performance against Ukraine. Not only were they solid on defense, posting their fifth consecutive clean sheet, but the inclusion of Jadon Sancho in offensive midfield three behind Harry Kane added another dimension to their attacking game. Raheem Sterling was once again sublime, including assisting for Kane’s first goal, while the Tottenham striker has now scored three times in two games after a difficult start to the tournament. England will face Denmark at Wembley in the semi-finals on Wednesday believing they can go all the way.
2) Italy (up 1)
The only criticism leveled at Italy during their incredible 32-match unbeaten streak was that they had not beaten any team in the top 15 of the FIFA world rankings. Yes, it was flaky, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, but it doesn’t matter now afterward. the azzurri2-1 win over Belgium on Friday. Roberto Mancini’s side was electric at times in attack and solid in the back and the only bitter note of the night was a serious injury suffered by left-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who broke his Achilles tendon. “The team has progressed game after game,” Mancini said with pleasure. “Even when there have been difficult games, the team has always improved, and there is still room for improvement.” Ominous.
3) Denmark (up to 2)
The fairy tale continues. Kasper Hjulmand’s team deserved their 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic even though the second half was tough. In the first 45 minutes, the Danes were creative, energetic and effervescent. They could have gone 4-0 up at the break, but in the end they had to settle for two goals, a header from Thomas Delaney and a sneaky shot from Kasper Dolberg after a sumptuous cross from off the boot by Joakim Mæhle. . Praise must also go to Hjulmand, who responded to the Czechs winning the lead in the second half by making a double substitution in the 59th minute to regain control in the midfield area.
4) Spain (-)
And suddenly, they were in the semifinals. Somehow. Luis Enrique’s team did not impress in the win over Switzerland, after penalties, but they will not complain. This somewhat strange Spain, without Real Madrid players and without real stars, is in the quarterfinal phase of a tournament for the first time since they won the Euro in 2012. Against Switzerland they played with a man for more than 42 minutes without creating too many opportunities. “This is a euphoric moment,” said goalkeeper Unai Simón, who made that horrible mistake against Croatia. “I was very emotional, I was very emotional, all that fury, all that desire. Something inside me wanted this. “
5) Belgium (down 4)
The end of an era? Of a golden generation? Perhaps not entirely, but there will be a painful soul-searching in the Belgian Federation after this latest failure to go all the way. They gave it their all against Italy and, perhaps, with Eden Hazard on the field and a Kevin De Bruyne in top form they could have done it. In fact, they fell short on a hectic night in Munich. The defense, with Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Verthongen and Toby Alderweireld, will have to be renewed, but with the World Cup only 18 months away, there may be no total changes. The brilliant performance of 19-year-old Jérémy Doku will give Belgian fans hope as they try to regroup.
6) Switzerland (-)
In the end, there was no other surprise. Switzerland once again forced a European superpower to extra time and penalties, but, unlike France, they blew their lines against Spain, missing three of their four shots from the point. However, they were impressive again, despite losing Breel Embolo early to injury and bouncing back from a goal behind to score a nice draw from Xherdan Shaqiri. However, their threat as an offensive force ended the moment Remo Freuler was sent off harshly in the 77th minute. Coach Vladimir Petkovic was right when he called his players “heroes” after the match. Switzerland had a very good tournament.
7) Czech Republic (-)
A good chunk against Denmark was not enough and the Czechs left after a 2-1 loss in Baku. They came out as a different team in the second half, 2-0 down, and Jaroslav Silhavy’s substitutions worked wonderfully at first, but after Patrik Schick scored his fifth goal of the tournament, they struggled to create clear chances against a defense. compact danish. . Goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, who made several important saves again, said he was proud of what he and his teammates had accomplished this summer. “Nobody believed in us, but we stuck together,” he said. uefa.com. “There is a strong team spirit. We have something special in this group. With the passage of time, I think we will only find positive aspects of this tournament ”.
8) Ukraine (-)
The game against England was a step too far for Andriy Shevchenko’s team. They had a game plan, similar to the one that had been so successful against Sweden, but it was undone in four minutes when Harry Kane ran into the area, unchallenged, to score. An injury to Serhiy Kryvtsov meant a change in formation for Ukraine, to what looked like a back room, and they enjoyed their best run of the match before the break. However, the game ended as a contest when Harry Maguire scored a header. Ukraine has made their country proud by reaching the round of 16. Now they must sweat over whether Shevchenko stays or moves to club football.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism