UEFA Euro 2020: Matchday 14

The first day of the knockout round of UEFA Euro 2020 provided us a glimpse of the intensity and nervousness that is to come as we move towards a single-elimination format.

One result was surprisingly lopsided while the other was a close affair where overall talent eventually rose to the top.  We’ve already had one match go into extra time and it most likely won’t be the last.

The big takeaway is we have our first two participants in the quarterfinals that are set to begin later this week.  As for how they achieved this accomplishment, here’s what happened:


Denmark 4, Wales 0

Wales started the brighter of the two sides during the first 20 minutes, with Gareth Bale coming closest in the 10th minute when his swerving shot from outside the box flew slightly wide left.  However, Denmark would take the lead with their first shot on target in the 27th minute when striker Kasper Dolberg created space for himself to get a shot off just outside the box and his precise effort went straight for the bottom right corner.

Playing in the stadium he used to call home during his time with Ajax, the striker almost made it two a few minutes later, but his attempted flick from point-blank range was snuffed out by goalkeeper Danny Ward.

Denmark wasted little time to extend their lead at the start of the second half as Martin Braithwaite beat his man on the right flank as he entered the box and crossed the ball towards the middle.  Wales’ attempted clearance went straight to the feet of Dolberg, who quickly slotted home for his second goal of the match.

Denmark controlled the match the rest of the way and wrapped everything up in the 88th minute when Joakim Mæhle was alone on the right side of the box and he was able to score with a powerful shot at the near post after cutting onto his favorite left foot.

Wales substitute Harry Wilson was shown a straight red card for a late challenge in the 90th minute before Braithwaite scored Denmark’s fourth goal by chesting a ball down in the box and firing a shot low into the bottom left corner.  Denmark will face either the Netherlands or the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on Saturday.


Italy 2, Austria 1 (AET)

After a brief feeling-out period to begin the match, the Italians would take control and start funneling attempts at the Austrian net.  Nicolò Barella came closest in the 17th minute when his outside the foot effort forced a kick save out of goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann.

Italy threatened again in the 32nd minute when striker Ciro Immobile’s effort from about 30 yards out dipped and swerved before striking the outside of the left post and out.  Italy were off target with the rest of their attempts before halftime, but they held Austria to zero shots on target.

Austria were able to find their footing in the second half and they came narrowly close to opening the scoring in the 65th minute.  A long ball into the box on the left side was headed by David Alaba towards the back post where Marko Arnautovic was able to head it off the crossbar and in as his momentum took him past the end line.  However, VAR intervened to show that the forward was just a fraction offside.

The near concession seemed to cripple Italy’s confidence a bit as they couldn’t get a shot on target for the rest of the half while Austria had a lot more possession.  Neither side truly threatened the opposition’s net before the full-time whistle blew with the score still level at zero.

Substitutions Italy made before the first extra-time interval proved vital in finally unlocking Austria’s defense.  Federico Chiesa received a cross into the box at the back post on the right side and was able to slightly touch it past an oncoming defender before striking it low and hard into the left side of the net.

Another substitute for Italy scored just before the conclusion of the first extra time period as Matteo Pessina collected a layoff from Francesco Acerbi on the left side of the box before hitting the bottom right corner with his shot.

In the second extra-time interval, Austria started strong when Louis Schaub’s effort from outside the box required goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to save at full stretch to his left.  They finally ended Italy’s streak of 1,168 consecutive minutes without conceding in the 114th minute when substitute Sasa Kalajdzic directed his header from a corner in at the near post as he was going to ground.  It would only be a consolation though as they were unable to come up with another effort to send both teams to a shootout.

Italy move on to the quarterfinals where they will be a part of a titanic clash that will also feature the winners of Belgium vs. Portugal.


For more of my soccer coverage, check out “Atletico TV” on Facebook and the “Gateway to Soccer Show” on YouTube, as well my previous recaps here.