UEFA 2020 Euro Championship – Day 16

So it all gets rather serious now. No second chances – knockout football, whether that be in ninety minute, extra-time or penalties. It all leads to the Final now. It is curious to consider how teams approach it. Do you go out and look to get the job done in normal time, so creating an open game, or does the nature of knockout football naturally bred caution in sides approach? In all honesty its probably a bit of both.

Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam (c) Wikepedia

Wales v Denmark (Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam)

The last time these two played each other was in the inaugural UEFA Nations League back in 2018/19 with the Danes emerging victors in both games. The game in Aarhus ended in a 2-0 win with Cristian Eriksen getting both goals, with the return game in Cardiff seeing the Danes win 2-1 with a late winner from Martin Braithwaite.

Wales qualified for the last 16 courtesy of a runners-up spot in Group A to Italy earning four points after drawing with Switzerland (1-1), beating Turkey (2-0) and ending with a loss to the Italians (1-0). Denmark came through Group B also in second-spot, with the victory in their last game over Russia (4-1) enough to see them through despite losing to both Finland (1-0) and Belgium (2-1).

This is a difficult one to call. Which version of the teams will turn up? Will this be the Welsh team that was so energetic and creative in the Turkey game or the lethargic, lack lustre version that drew with Switzerland? Similarly for Denmark, will it be the team now drained due to the emotional trauma of the awful collapse Christian Eriksen in the Finland game or a team driven by the event to inspire them? Could travel play a part in this? Denmark played all three games at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, whilst Wales have had the slog out to Baku and then a trip to Rome. My head says Denmark, my heart says Wales.

Wembley Stadium (c) Wikepedia

Italy v Austria (Wembley Stadium, London)

The last time these teams met was in a friendly in 2008 at the Stade Municipal du Ray in Nice. Austria raced into a two-goal lead through Pogatetz (14’) and  Janko (39’) only for Italy to pull one back on the stroke of half-time through Gilardino. The Azzuri completed the comeback on sixty-seven minutes through Ozcan, with the game ending 2-2.

Italy cruised through Group A winning all three games in impressive fashion beating both Turkey and Switzerland 3-0 and despite making a number of changes also beat Wales 1-0. Austria qualified for the last 16 as runners-up from Group C, with wins in their opening game against North Macedonia (3-1) and last game against Ukraine (1-0). Sandwiched in between was a 2-0 defeat to group winners Netherland.

The Italians have looked in great form in the tournament extending their winning streak to thirty games (twenty-five wins and five draw) and I really can’t see beyond them beating Austria.

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Posted June 26, 2021 by Editor in category "UEFA 2020 Euro Championship

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