On an absolutely amazingl day of action at the 2020 UEFA European Championship on Monday, both Spain and Switzerland are through to the quarterfinals. The Swiss shocked France, the 2018 World Cup champions, in the day's second game. Switzerland overcame a two-goal deficit late in the second half and then beat France, 5-4, in penalties as French superstar Kylian Mbappe was the only player to miss from the spot.
The Spanish beat Croatia 5-3 after extra time in the game's first day, while Switzerland and France needed more than 120 minutes. Both matches finished 3-3 in regulation time.
France's clash with Switzerland immediately went against expectations with Haris Seferovic giving the Swiss an early lead after some calamitous Clement Lenglet defending. The French came out with a new plan in the second half but needed a Hugo Lloris penalty save from Ricardo Rodriguez to spark them into life. Karim Benzema then netted a quickfire double put them in front. Paul Pogba appeared to have booked Les Bleus' quarterfinal berth with a booming third, yet Seferovic scored again before Mario Gavranovic's composed finish made it 3-3 late on and forced extra time in Bucharest.
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In the also-thrilling first game of the day, Luis Enrique's men fought back from a goal down after a spectacular own goal gifted Croatia the lead and Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres appeared to have won the game for La Roja.However, Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic had other ideas and sent the Parken encounter in Copenhagen into extra time before Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal sealed Spain's progress.
Euro 2020 scores
- Croatia 3, Spain 5 (extra time)
- France 3, Switzerland 3 (Switzerland win, 5-4, on PKs)
France-Switzerland top plays
Haris Seferovic's opener: Teed up by Steven Zuber, the Swiss target man put the Nati in front with his head and was helped on his way by some pitiful defending from Clement Lenglet, who was fortunate to see out the half.
Karim Benzema's equalizer: Fed an awkward ball in by Kylian Mbappe, the Real Madrid superstar produced a brilliant piece of improvised control before marrying it with a clinical finish to start the French fightback.
Paul Pogba's stunner: A contender for goal of the tournament, the Manchester United man picked the top right corner perfectly from distance to send Les Bleus' traveling fans absolutely mad as they thought that the job had been done.
Mario Gavranovic's leveller: Granit Xhaka got his assist when he located Gavranovic brilliantly, but it still required exquisite footwork and a finish to match to beat Lloris to send the tie to extra time.
¡Gooooooooooool de Suiza! Golaaaazo de Gravanovic. 😱— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) June 28, 2021
Simplemente... ¡WOOOOOOOOOW! Gracias a la vida por esta Euro 2020. 🥵🔥⚽#FRA 3-3 #SUI#EuroTUDN I #VeranoDeCampeones I #EURO2020
🔴 ¡En vivo!
📺📲 TUDN, @univision y https://t.co/OmeLOvzglE
👉 https://t.co/FTz6Kn0nFB pic.twitter.com/B6yDDiYFnk
Mbappe's miss: The PSG superstar had a tournament to forget. That includes his last shot, as he was the only player to miss from the spot in the shootout.
France-Switzerland notable player ratings
Karim Benzema, France: Two goals to take his tournament tally up to four with the first particularly special with that magic control. It was a shame that he was forced off injured in ET. RATING: 8
Granit Xhaka, Switzerland: Unlucky to find himself on the wrong side of the scoreline for most of the second half after an excellent first which saw him in metronomic form for the Swiss. Deserved his assist for Gavranovic. RATING: 7
Kylian Mbappe, France: Involved in both of Benzema's goals, but was far more purposeful for the second than he was for the first and he missed his chance for a tournament strike in the second half. Missed the decisive penalty and although nobody can fault him for having the guts to step up, it was the crowning moment in a spectacular failure of a Euro -- individually and collectively -- with potentially graver consequences for people other than himself. RATING: 6
Breel Embolo, Switzerland: A handful up top for the Swiss with the reconfigured France defense struggling to get to grips with him early on. Arguably would have stayed on if there was only a goal in it when Ruben Vargas was sent on. RATING: 6
Clement Lenglet, France: Just an awful, awful performance with the Barcelona man in constant difficulty until he was mercifully withdrawn. RATING: 2
Croatia-Spain top plays
Pablo Sarabia draws Spain level: After Pedri's shock own goal, Luis Enrique's side looked to have been rocked out of their rhythm. Croatia were pressing high up the pitch and putting pressure on the Spanish full-backs but the PSG playmaker helped get his side back into gear as the halftime interval approached. He began the move, lobbing a smart pass under pressure to space outside the Croatia penalty area that Pedri was darting into. From there the ball would ricochet one way and then the next, twice reaching shooting positions on the left corner of the box. On the second occasion Jose Gaya got an effort away, a thundering effort across goal that Dominic Livakovic did wonderfully to parry. The Croatia goalkeeper could do nothing but watch the ball skim off his head as Sarabia pounced on the rebound, a fearsome effort that drew Spain level with just seven minutes left in the first half. It set the tempo for a searing display of attacking football by the 2008 and 2012 champions.
Mario Pasalic completes the comeback: Mislav Orsic's introduction in particular had turned the tide for Croatia, offering them the pace and vibrancy that had been missing from their attack before the dying moments of the initial 90. Of all the moments of quality he brought – and there were plenty – none were more perfectly judged than the cross from which Pasalic made the score 3-3. Cesar Azpilicueta was late out to the Dinamo Zagreb winger, who had time to lift his head and spot the run of Atalanta's Pasalic into space created by Andrej Kramaric. His header was unstoppable for Unai Simon.
Unai Simon's redemption: There may have been plenty of twists and turns after, but had Spain been knocked out much of the talk after the game would have been on Simon's failure to pick out Pedri's (firmly struck and fiercely spinning) back pass. Instead the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper ended the game as one of his country's heroes thanks to several smart saves, including a strong right hand down low to deny Josko Gvardiol in the second period. His best moment came just as it seemed Croatia were destined for their fourth. Orsic was once more Spain's tormentor, darting past Cesar Azpilicueta and crossing low into a dangerous area. The ball eventually dropped at Kramaric's feet, a snap shot down the middle looking like being enough to beat Simon as he dived to his right. An instinctive flick of his glove meant otherwise. Moments later Spain would win it at the other end.
Morata's moment: Alvaro Morata was never going to escape his role in a game as dramatic as this one. He may have completely miscued a chance early on but the Juventus' forward did plenty of the other stuff strikers are supposed to do with his interplay, hard running to make space and pressing of the Croatian defense. That might not have been enough to save him from another interrogation from the Spanish media and public if this game had not been won. He would put La Furia Roja on course to do exactly that with perhaps the pick of the game's eight goals and a classic center forward's finish. Dropping into the space at the back post he took down Dani Olmo's cross with his right foot, teeing himself up to immediately volley with his left, a perfect hit that Livakovic could do nothing about. Modric collapsed to the ground as Spain celebrated. Croatia seemed to know the game was gone.
Croatia-Spain notable player ratings
Sergio Busquets, Spain: Fully deserving of his star of the match territory, Busquets precise passing ensured that Spain spent much of the match camped out in the Croatian third. His four interceptions and four tackles kept pressure mostly limited at the other end. RATING: 9
Ferran Torres, Spain: Razor sharp in front of goal, the Manchester City wide forward was no less valuable as a creative force with one assist and a game-leading four chances created. This Championships could be a breakthrough moment for the youngster. RATING: 8
Josko Gvardiol, Croatia: Though he offered a threat in attack, he was more dangerous without the ball, giving away far too much space on his left flank, most notably when he fell asleep defending the free kick from the opposite flank that would end with Torres' goal. RATING: 3
Mislav Orsic, Croatia: An utterly invigorating presence for this barmy game, every time he got the ball he had only one aim, to get it in the Spanish goal. He scored one with the instincts of a poacher, provided another and could have had at least one more goal and assist. RATING: 7