Tuesday’s saw the final two games of the Euro 2020 Round of 16 – England hosted long time rivals Germany in the early game, whilst Sweden and Ukraine faced off in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Euro 2020 quarter-finalists have been decided. Denmark and the Czech Republic will travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, Switzerland shocked the world by beating World Cup holders France on penalties to set up a meeting with Spain, who beat Croatia 5-3 in extra time, in St Petersburg, Russia, whilst Belgium and Italy face off at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany and England are up against Ukraine in Rome.
England v Germany
You have to go back to the World Cup Final of 1966 for England to have beaten Germany in a competitive match. The English did beat Germany in friendly at Wembley Stadium in 1974, however.
The homeside struck twice late on to end their 55-year wait for a knockout tie victory over the Germans. The two countries have long been bitter rivals so the tensions were even higher throughout, and the elations even grander for the victors.
Gareth Southgate’s side, who will play …… in Rome on Saturday (3pm ET – ESPN), battled hard to earn the standout victory that so often eludes them. It was their talisman of the tournament, Raheem Sterling, who opened the scoring. The Man City frontman, who scored the winners against Croatia and the Czech Republic in the Group Stages, steered in Luke Shaw‘s cross after 75 minutes, sending England fans – with more than 40,000 inside Wembley – into wild celebrations.
The win was locked in with another moment of magnificence just four minutes from time when captain Harry Kane, who once again struggled to add any influence to much of the game, headed in from substitute Jack Grealish‘s pinpoint delivery for his first goal of the campaign.
The three lions were thankful once more for the brilliance of Jordan Pickford, who is yet to concede a goal in the tournament. The Everton shot-stopper saved crucially from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in each half, whilst Thomas Muller missed a glorious chance before Kane struck.
Southgate‘s team selection raised a few eyebrows after he decided to start creative masterminds Grealish and Phil Foden on the bench, instead showing huge faith in Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka by starting him after his excellent performance against the Czechs.
Saka was brilliant, England’s spark as they struggled early on, whilst Grealish, who came on for the teenager, added the crucial X factor.
The scenes after the final whistle show just how important this win was for the side, digging deep and surviving periods of struggle to overcome bitter rivals who so often got the better of them.
This is arguably the biggest and most important victory of Southgate‘s England managerial career.
Ukraine v England – Saturday, July 3 (3pm ET – ESPN)
Sweden v Ukraine
10-man Sweden were just moments away from taking Ukraine to a penalty shootout, but Artem Dovbyk had other ideas when he headed home in additional time of extra time to seal the win with the latest winning goal to be scored at the Euros.
Oleksandr Zinchenko opened the scoring after 23 minutes with a powerful drive, but a deflected shot from Emil Forsberg levelled matters just before the break.
Sweden lost Marcus Danielson to a red card in extra time after a VAR check. The Swede lunged in to a tackle on Artem Besedin winning the ball, but catching the Ukrainian on the follow through, originally receiving a yellow card before VAR upgraded it to a red.
Ukraine crept through from the group phase with a mere 3pts from three games and a negative goal differnetial, whilst Sweden topped their group with seven points from an available 9.
Despite being eliminated Sweden can hold their heads high after many successes at this year’s competition. Not only did they top their group, they topped a group that included Spain. The Swedes were also temporarily down to nine men twice after head knocks.
This is Ukraine’s first knockout stage victory at a major tournament. The national team was established in 1992.
Ukraine v England – Saturday, July 3rd (3pm ET – ESPN)
Quarter Finals Match Ups
Denmark v Czech Republic – Saturday, July 3rd (12pm ET – ESPN) – Baku, Azerbaijan (Baku Olympic Stadium)
Belgium v Italy – Friday, July 2nd (3pm ET – ESPN) – Munich, Germany (Allianz Arena)
Switzerland v Spain – Friday, July 2nd (12pm ET – ESPN) – St Petersburg, Russia (Gazprom Arena)
Ukraine v England – Saturday, July 3rd (3pm ET – ESPN) – Rome, Italy (Stadio Olimpico)