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Thread: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

  1. #121
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Absolute scenes. Euro 2008 vibes. What's there not to love about this?
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  2. #122
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Sunday June 28 | 5pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    NETHERLANDS vs. FRANCE
    Puskas Arena, Budapest


    NETHERLANDS – 1. Jasper Cillesen, 22. Denzel Dumfries, 3. Mathias DeLigt, 4. Virgil Van Dijk (C), 17. Daley Blind, 20. Donny van de Beek, 8. Georginio Wijnaldum*, 21. Frenkie DeJong, 11. Quincy Promes, 10. Memphis Depay, 7. Steven Berghuis

    FRANCE – 1. Hugo Lloris (C), 2. Benjamin Pavard*, 4. Raphael Varane*, 5. Clement Lenglet, 21. Lucas Hernandez, 6. Paul Pogba*, 13. N’Golo Kante*, 11. Kingsley Coman, 7. Antoine Griezmann*, 10. Kylian Mbappe, 9. Olivier Giroud
    *= Booked in previous game


    Undoubtedly the tie of the round. Netherlands – flying high after the 7-1 demolition against Kosovo – come to Budapest unchanged, despite calls for teenage sensation Boadu to start following his brace as a substitute on Monday. France make two changes, with Paul Pogba fit to return and Lucas Hernandez replacing Digne at left back for his first start of the tournament after Digne suffered a recurrence of his ankle injury that forced him off during the win against Iceland.

    The Dutch get the game started, with De Jong lofting the ball forward, but Varane is able to head the ball away, beating Berghuis in the air with relative ease, but Pogba’s touch is loose when he picks it up, allowing Depay to pinch it away from him, and the Lyon attacker lashes a shot at goal-

    AND IT DECEIVES LLORIS-

    GOING UNDER THE KEEPER AS HE DIVES-

    1-0 INSIDE 30 SECONDS!!!!!

    The World Champions are stunned!! While the hopeful shot was struck well, Lloris appeared to have it covered … but the French captain made a huge error in judgment!! Dream start for the Netherlands, picking up where they left off on Tuesday, and Depay has his fourth goal in two games to become the top scorer in the tournament. France though have a whole game to pull it back, and understandably DON’T hit the panic button. They look to establish control, not appearing in a rush to draw level, but the Dutch aren’t prepared to sit back and defend their lead either.

    Still flying high from their 7-1 victory over Kosovo, the Dutch aren’t in awe of the World Champions, and take the game to the French, having particular joy on the flanks, with Pavard and Hernandez having a tough time getting to grips with Berghuis and Promes, along with Depay when drifting to the wide areas. Meanwhile, at the other end, Van Dijk is more than capable to handling Giroud, removing a vital component that typically frees up Mbappe and Griezmann to do the damage.

    A hopeful high ball from Pavard in the direction of Giroud is won by the head of Virgil, and the Dutch control possession in the midfield, as van de Beek, Wijnaldum and De Jong out gun and out man Pogba and Kante, before releasing Depay again, cutting through the French backline like a knife through butter!!

    DEPAY IS ONE ON ONE WITH LLORIS-

    BUT THE KEEPER REDEEMS HIMSELF WITH A TREMENDOUS SAVE FROM THE DUCTHMAN!!!

    Hernandez quickly knocks the ball behind for a corner, feeling Promes closing in on him, but it’s Lloris’ save that prevents France from falling 2-0 down in the opening ten minutes. The corner is swung in…

    AND VIRGIL VAN DIJK BEATS VARANE-

    BEATING LLORIS!!!

    2-0 NETHERLANDS!!!

    It’s an electric start for Holland!! The Dutch lead the World Champions 2-0 in the opening eight minutes!! Again, with so much time on the clock, France don’t hit the panic button, but they know a third goal could be curtains for their chances of back to back major championship victories. Despite not panicking though, the France ARE sluggish, struggling to put anything of meaning together, hampered by the job Van Dijk is doing on Giroud, giving him no time to hold the ball up, beating him in the air, and with the general play of the World Champions, it may be a hangover from the late loss against Portugal.

    Meanwhile, the Dutch – no pun intended – are flying. Their front three look dangerous every time they get on the ball, but Depay perhaps is beginning to get over-confident, with a pair of speculative – at best – efforts from distance that don’t trouble Lloris at all, and get the Dutchman an earful from his coach on the touchline. Lloris – still looking to make an amends for his early error – is alert to the danger, rushing out of goal to smother any through balls, and makes an excellent save to tip the ball over the bar from a curling effort from Berghuis.

    The corner comes in…

    AND VAN DIJK RISES HIGHEST TO MEET IT AGAIN-

    BUT SENDS HIS HEADER OVER THE BAR THIS TIME!!

    Let off for France!! Twenty five minutes into the game, France are being run ragged by this vibrant Dutch side, having failed to truly trouble the goalkeeper or even the defence for that matter, with Griezmann and even Mbappe struggling to get into the game. Pogba isn’t providing much in midfield, losing possession, making loose passes, generally wasteful in possession, and it means his partner has to clean up the mess … with that eventually leading Kante to pick up a booking; his second of the tournament, meaning he’ll be suspended for the Quarter-Final … but that’s the least of his worries right now.

    The Netherlands are looking comfortable with their two goal advantage, knocking the ball around confidently, patiently waiting for an opening or a mistake from the French to pounce on, but eventually that leads to a little bit of overconfidence, that nearly backfires with De Ligt taking his time on the ball, at the back despite being closed down by Coman, and the winger blocks his clearance … with the ball spinning and falling to Mbappe-

    But his first time effort is blocked by Blind, and out for a corner.

    It’s Griezmann to send the corner in-

    FLICKED ON BY POGBA-

    AND COMES OFF THE HEAD OF BLIND…

    DIVERTED PAST CILLESEN!!!

    Lifeline for France, but a horror moment for Daley Blind!! He couldn't get out of the way of it!! France have a route back into the game, seven minutes before the break, and the goal seems to spark the World Champions into gear, resulting in a nervy final few minutes of the first half for the Dutch, as they do begin to automatically drop deep in an attempt to protect their lead at least into half time. Suddenly, Mbappe has burst into life, making life difficult for Blind, and compounding his horrific end to the half by forcing the former Manchester United man into a foul that earns the Dutchman a yellow card.

    The free kick is from a dangerous position, but at an almost impossible angle to direct at goal, meaning Griezmann drifts the ball into the box-

    Thumping header away from danger from Van Dijk!!

    There’s a chance of a break now for Holland, with Depay picking up the loose ball, and bursting forward with pace …

    But Kante matches him stride for stride, and eventually gets a foot in, making a terrific block – with no room for error due to his earlier yellow – and wins the ball back for France, before smartly knocking the ball to Pavard, giving the full back space to run on into. Blind shows Pavard down the line, forcing the right back to look back, playing the ball back to Kante, then into Griezmann at the edge of the box. The Dutch are standing off, wary of making a rash challenge in a dangerous area-

    Griezmann with a touch-

    Opens his body up-

    AND BENDS HIS SHOT AROUND CILLESEN!!!

    2-2!!!

    Second best for much of the half, France have levelled the scores before the break!! It’s Griezmanns first strike of the tournament, and you won’t see many better than it!! Frustration for the Netherlands, having bossed the play for the majority of the first half, yet they’ve nothing to show for it, despite holding a 2-0 advantage at one point!! Paul Pogba lashes an effort from thirty yards right before the half time whistle … but his effort is watched over the bar by the keeper, and the teams head into the break all square.

    But from the beginning of the second half, the momentum is clearly with France now. That double salvo prior to the break has knocked the stuffing out of the Dutch, and the fifteen minute break hasn’t done much to help, with France clicking into gear, and for once, Giroud shrugs off a challenge from Van Dijk to receive the ball from Mbappe – after a mazy run from Mbappe – to back heel it for Mbappe continuing his run into the box-

    SHOT SAVED BY THE KEEPER-

    BUT MBAPPE GETS A SECOND CRACK AT IT WITH A REBOUND-

    AND SUDDENLY FRANCE ARE AHEAD!!!

    The Dutch deserve better than this, but on this occasion it’s scintillating football from the world champions!! Mbappe has his third of the tournament, France – from nowhere – now lead, and they nearly make it four just moments after the restart with Mbappe slipped in again – this time by Pogba – but the striker is denied by Cillesen!! The ruthlessness of the French has really shaken Holland up, and the Oranje look for leadership through Van Dijk, with the Liverpool defender having to drag his side through a rough opening fifteen minutes of the second half to keep themselves in the game.

    Ronald Koeman, seeing the game slipping through his fingers, rolls the dice by throwing on an additional forward player, as Myron Boadu – the teenage sensation – replaces van de Beek, with the Dutch now going 4-2-4. It gives the French – without Deschamps on the sideline due to a suspension of his own – food for thought with 3-2 not the most comfortable of leads, and their inability to add to it, despite their dominance throughout the second half so far.

    The introduction of Boadu gives the Dutch a much needed jolt, and they start to probe, threatening in the French third, and after Kante is drawn into another foul – one he’s lucky not to get booked for again – the French coaching team don’t want to be reduced to ten, and quickly move to replace the Chelsea midfielder with Blaise Matuidi. But the Dutch attacks are prone to a counter attack, light in midfield, and as Berghuis whips in a cross, Lloris comes to collect … before immediately throwing the ball back out to spark a lightning fast break!!

    Using Coman to stretch the play, the French burst forward, with the Bayern attacker blistering down the wing, beating Dumfries, and it’s 4 v 3 with Coman having Giroud, Mbappe and Griezmann to choose from …

    BUT ELECTS TO GO IT ALONE!!

    HE BEATS DE LIGT INITIALLY…

    THEN PLAYS IT TOWARD THE PENALTY AREA-

    TOUCHED BY GRIEZMANN …

    BEFORE GOING DOWN UNDER THE TRAILING LEG OF VAN DIJK!!!

    PENALTY!!!

    There’s a VAR review first of all … but the lack of protest from Van Dijk says it all; the penalty stands, and Griezmann, having won the penalty, will have a chance to double his tally in this match – and the tournament – from the spot…

    WELL STRUCK TO THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER-

    CILLESEN GOES THE WRONG WAY!!

    4-2 TO FRANCE!!!

    With a little over twenty minutes left to play, that could be the death knell for the Dutch, with France moving into a higher gear. Having scored two, Griezmann is looking for a hat trick now, and it’s that search for a hat trick that prevents France from moving further ahead, with the Barcelona man beginning to look more selfish with his play, ignoring some better runs from Mbappe and Coman to go alone. Giroud is given a rest, replaced by Ben Yedder, and Mbappe makes way for Lemar, with the French clearly believing the job is now done.

    But Griezmann loses possession to Wijnaldum, and instinctively raises a hand to stop the ball moving forward … and it’s a costly foul. Griezmann is booked – and he, just like Kante, will miss the Quarter-Final against Turkey – for the deliberate attempt to stop an attack. France are able to pull numbers back deep to defend the forward ball from Holland, sent toward the 18 yard box … won by Varane … but the loose ball is picked up by Promes.

    Promes takes his time, looking for the right ball back in… but it’s a crowded area.

    He lofts it deep-

    Flicked on by Van Dijk-

    It’s out of reach for Hernandez-

    AND DROPS TO BOADU!!!

    ACROSS THE FACE OF GOAL-

    OFF THE POST-

    AND IN!!!

    Hope for Holland!! 3-4 with fifteen minutes to play!!!

    The goal sparks a second wind for the Dutch, and France begin to look leggy, somewhat nervy on the backfoot, with Depay breaking into the box once more-

    AND BLASTS THE BALL ACROSS THE FACE OF GOAL…

    BUT THERE’S NO ONE ABLE TO GET A TOUCH!!!

    Any touch would’ve taken it in!! Justin Kluivert is the final throw of the dice for Holland, replacing Dumfries as Holland go 3-2-5 seemingly in some fashion with FIVE attackers now on the field in search of an equalizer in this enthralling knockout game. They’re risking conceding at the other end, but it’s a case of no guts, no glory – losing by one goal is the same as two or three at this point! France, having already used all three subs, are scrambling to fill the gaps at the back, and as a result, the final ten minutes are like a basketball game!!

    Play going from one box to the other, last ditch challenges from defenders on both sides, there’s hearts in the mouths of both sets of supporters, and it’s the fresh legs of Kluivert causing problems for the French, playing a neat one-two with Promes to release him into the box, and drives the ball across goal-

    DEPAY DIVES IN WITH A TOUCH-

    OFF THE POST!!!

    KLUIVERT STRIKES FIRST TIME AT THE REBOUND-

    OFF THE LINE BY PAVARD!!!

    There’s a weak clearance from Lenglet, not getting a good connection-

    AND IT’S WIJNALDUM WINDING UP TO STRIKE-

    BUT THE BALL WHISTLES OVER THE BAR!!!

    From the goal kick, France look like they could score, with the Dutch not even sending men back anymore!! Lemar bursts forward into the danger area, and could go it alone …

    BUT CUTS IT BACK FOR GRIEZMANN TO COMPLETE THE HAT TRICK-

    FINGER TIP SAVE BY CILLESEN!!!

    Griezmann is denied the match ball, and the Dutch clear their lines, pumping the ball to the channels, and Boadu picks it up, running at the French defenders, but has his run stopped by Pogba, getting a foot in…

    It’s picked up by De Jong though, and he lofts it into the box-

    AND KLUIVERT STRETCHES A LEG OUT AT THE DROPPING BALL-

    SENDING IT PAST LLORIS!!!

    4-4!!!!!!

    Incredible scenes in the last minute of the 90, and the Dutch have pulled level!! Justin Kluivert is mobbed by his team mates … but there’s about to be a sting in the tale … THE GOAL IS BEING REVIEWED BY VAR!!!

    And after consulting with the monitor on the touchline … the referee returns to confirm the worst fears of the Netherlands … KLUIVERT WAS OFFSIDE!!!

    AND THE GOAL IS DISALLOWED!!!

    The VAR decision is a gut punch to the Dutch, and seemingly kills the fight in Koemans men, as France now come forward, Coman cutting the Holland defence to ribbons before having the chance to square it for Griezmann to complete the hat trick-

    GRIEZMANN DUMMIES-

    FOR BEN YEDDER TO ARRIVE AND BLAST THE BALL PAST CILLESEN!!!

    Dagger to the heart of the Dutch!! 5-3 France!!! And after Antoine Griezmann spent much of the last twenty minutes selfishly looking to complete his hat trick, the Frenchman selflessly left arguably his best opportunity to instead give his side a definite opening to seal the tie!!! Holland are spent, and have nothing left to offer in the remaining two minutes of added time, going from thinking they’d forced extra time … to moments later – at the behest of VAR – finding themselves two goals behind again.

    France qualify, and will face Turkey in Baku in the Quarter-Final … but they’ll face the Turks without Griezmann and Kante after both men were booked this evening. But even without two of their regular starters, France boast the most depth in the entire tournament, and after putting FIVE past the Dutch, the World Champions have put every other side left in the tournament on notice. It’s a harsh scoreline on Holland, but Koeman will hope that his young side will learn from this experience for the World Cup in two years time.


    FINAL SCORE
    Netherlands 3 - 5 France
    Depay 1 aaaaaaaaaa Blind Own Goal 38
    Van Dijk 8 aaaaaaa. Griezmann 44, Pen 68
    Boadu 76 aaaaaaaa. Mbappe 47
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. Ben Yedder 90+2


    (Bookings; N’Golo Kante**, Daley Blind, Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann**)
    (Man Of The Match: Antoine Griezmann)
    ** = Missed Next Game














    Sunday June 28 | 8pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    BELGIUM vs. SCOTLAND
    San Mames Stadium, Bilbao


    BELGIUM 1. Thibaut Courtois, 15. Thomas Meunier, 2. Toby Alderweireld, 4. Vincent Kompany, 21. Timothy Castagne, 8. Youri Tielemens, 6. Axel Witsel, 7. Kevin De Bruyne, 16. Thorgan Hazard, 10. Eden Hazard (C), 23. Michy Batshuayi

    SCOTLAND – 1. David Marshall, 15. Liam Palmer*, 4. Charlie Mulgrew, 5. Scott McKenna, 3. Andrew Robertson (C), 6. Scott McTominay*, 8. John McGinn*, 10. Callum McGregor, 11. Ryan Fraser, 14. Ryan Christie, 20. Oli McBurnie
    *= Booked in previous game


    Despite Leigh Griffiths scoring the heroic late winner against Croatia that sent Scotland through to the knockout stages for the first time, McBurnie keeps his place up front, whilst Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor replace the suspended duo of Kieran Tierney and James Forrest, as the Scots appear to go back to a 4-5-1 having adopted a 5-4-1 for the group games against England and Croatia. Scotland are also handed a boost prior to kick off, with Romelu Lukaku pulling out during the warm up with a muscle strain, and the Belgian top scorer is replaced by Batshuayi.

    Jan Vertonghen is also missing for the Belgians due to an injury picked up in the final group game, and as a result, Scotland make a comfortable, confident start to the game in Bilbao, despite the knowledge they’d lost 3-0 and 4-0 during Qualification for the tournament against Belgium. Despite looking confident and remaining compact, the Scots don’t exactly trouble the Belgians either going forward, with the best chance for Steve Clarkes side coming from a Belgian error, as Meunier mis-judges his back pass to Courtois, forcing the keeper to scramble and scoop the ball off the line in the end.

    Belgium are able to clear the danger, but despite having the majority of the ball, they struggle to make any real openings of their own, with Batshuayi unable to make an impression on the game in the opening half hour. Clever balls from both Hazards are both cleared up by the Scottish backline, and despite the humidity in Bilbao – and many red faces blowing hard in the Scottish midfield – Scotland are hanging on pretty well, with Marshall only having one real save to make from a tame, underhit effort from Eden Hazard.

    Scotland take no chances at corners either, pulling almost everyone back to defend the danger, knowing the threat the Belgian defenders possess from these situations, but with so many behind the ball, they’re pegged in when trying to clear the danger, as Thorgan Hazard prowls with the ball, just waiting to see the ideal run being made into the box … but instead, it’s a square ball to De Bruyne he goes for instead-

    THE TOUCH FROM DE BRUYNE TAKES IT AWAY FROM MCTOMINAY-

    AND ALLOWS THE BELGIAN TO WHIP IT AT GOAL-

    BEATING MARSHALL!!!

    That’s the breakthrough for Belgium!! A wonderful goal from a wonderful player … and as Scotland look to settle things down and get into the break just a goal behind, Liam Palmer makes a lazy challenge on Thorgan Hazard IN THE BOX, that results in a PENALTY to Belgium and a yellow card for Palmer!!! It could be game over for Scotland in the blink of an eye, with Eden Hazard stepping up to take the spot kick…

    SAVED BY MARSHALL!!!

    Marshall keeps Scotland in the game!!! The keeper is mobbed by his teammates, thankful for him giving them a lifeline, but there’s still time before the break, and the keeper makes sure to demand concentration. Belgium though are looking likely to grab a second, even after the penalty miss, with De Bruyne going close again with a curling effort from outside the area, and Eden Hazard making a jinking run too, looking to atone for his penalty miss … but as he tries to cut into the box, he’s tripped by McTominay.

    The professional foul earns McTominay a yellow – and a suspension should Scotland somehow make it through – but the Manchester United midfielder makes the sacrifice to keep his side in touch. The resulting free kick is too close to the box for Hazard to get it up and down, and the ball sails wide of the mark. At half time, Scotland trail by a goal, buoyed by the penalty miss for Belgium, and still with hope of pulling off the upset. And in the opening minutes of the second half, Robertson breaks down the wing past Meunier-

    AND WHIPS A DANGEROUS BALL INTO THE BOX-

    MCBURNIE WITH THE HEADER-

    OFF THE CROSSBAR!!!

    Belgium scramble the ball clear!! Scotland were millimetres from grabbing an equalizer, and their fans begin to hope that they might just pull off the upset against the tournament favourites … but it’s the hope that kills you. For all their hard work and tenacity to close the Belgians down, Scotland are swimming against the tide, despite that effort off the crossbar … and the class of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne shines through, dragging the Scots out of position…

    Before De Bruyne dinks the ball through a gap …

    AS TIELEMENS CHARGES THROUGH TO GET THERE-

    AND SLOTS PAST MARSHALL!!!

    It’s looking comfortable for Belgium from there. They move the ball around, keeping possession, forcing Scotland to chase and harry, wasting energy, and only for wasteful finishing from Batshuayi and Thorgan Hazard, they could go 4-0 ahead, whilst Scotland – despite their effort – can’t mount any meaningful attacks to worry the Belgian backline or goalkeeper. With twenty minutes left on the clock, Clarke appears to throw in the towel somewhat, using the time to give teenager Billy Gilmour a taste of tournament football, as he replaces Ryan Christie in a bit of a formation rejig.

    And although Belgium are still controlling the game, the Chelsea midfielder impresses when he gets on the ball, certainly not overawed by the occasion. Despite Gilmour looking good, he’s unable to affect the game in any meaningful way, as the best chances still are coming from the men in red, but Belgium fail to increase the lead. With the game seemingly in the bag, both Eden Hazard and Kevin DeBruyne are withdrawn with just over ten minutes remaining with Carrasco and Origi getting a run out in their place.

    Belgium look to see out the remainder of the game from there, keeping possession, until Vincent Kompany makes a huge error, misplacing a pass directed toward Witsel-

    BUT IT’S CUT OUT BY MCGREGOR!!

    WHO SLIPS IT THROUGH TO MCBURNIE-

    BUT NUDGED AWAY BY ALDERWEIRELD OFF THE TOE OF THE STRIKER-

    ONLY AS FAR AS MCGINN … STRUCK FIRST TIME…

    AND INTO THE NET!!!!

    2-1!!!!!

    McGinn quickly retrieves the ball, potentially setting up a grandstand finish here in Bilbao!!! With Belgium having taken their foot off the gas and taking off their two most influential players, there’s an opening for Scotland to rescue this!!! And all of a sudden, Belgium look shaky!! Clarke throws on Griffiths for McTominay, and the Celtic striker chases down every ball, putting pressure on Belgium, wanting to force them into a mistake … AND CHARGES DOWN A CLEARANCE FROM COURTOIS-

    BUT THE BALL TRICKLES PAST THE POST!!!

    LET OFF FOR BELGIUM!!!

    There’s a roar from the Scots in attendance, feeling as if the comeback is on, with Billy Gilmour expressing himself on the ball, using a deft touch to leave Tielemens looking lost, and uses his time on the ball to loft a dangerous ball into the box-

    ONTO THE CHEST OF GRIFFITHS-

    BUT COURTOIS BRAVELY CHARGES THE STRIKER DOWN TO SMOTHER THE BALL!!!

    And the keeper quickly releases the ball, seeing an opportunity to break … and Scotland are caught outnumbered now at the back!! Mulgrew is out of position … and left for dead by Thorgan Hazard, with the younger brother of Eden continuing down the flank before sending the ball into the box-

    MISSED BY ORIGI!!!

    The ball continues on, and it’s picked up by Carrasco, jinking past Palmer, and tees it up for Origi to have a second bite…

    NO MISTAKE THIS TIME!!!

    ORIGI SCORES TO MAKE IT 3-1!!!

    Scotland are dead and buried. This time, Belgium DO see out the remaining minutes, having come through a late scare from the Scots. And indeed, some frustrations boil over for Scotland, with Robertson making a poor challenge on Carrasco with the winger showboating on the ball. There’s a bit of an ugly reaction to the challenge too, with Tielemens picking up a yellow card for his actions in the aftermath, as the game ends amidst some bad feeling between the sides … but Belgium will progress to the last eight, ending Scottish hopes on a balmy night in Bilbao.


    FINAL SCORE
    Belgium 3-1 Scotland
    De Bruyne 34 aa McGinn 82
    Tielemens 53
    Origi 88
    E. Hazard Missed Pen 39


    (Bookings; Liam Palmer, Scott McTominay, Youri Tielemens, Andrew Robertson)
    (Man Of The Match: Kevin De Bruyne)




    Tomorrow; Croatia vs. Poland & Germany vs. Russia.
    Tuesday; England vs. Portugal & Spain vs. Switzerland

  3. #123
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    This is such a great idea - excellent write-ups, Wolf. I can feel the drama!

    Pulling for the Russians to get one over Germany, like it's the Great Patriotic War all over again... вперед россия!!

    I don't like how close the Irish got to qualifying. That just didn't feel right.

    Has there been much crowd trouble? I hope the English are behaving themselves?
    Last edited by SuperSaiyan; 06-29-2020 at 03:18 PM.

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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    ........ Prick Griffiths and McBurnie fuckin bottlers man.
    Last edited by Chaddes; 06-29-2020 at 07:57 AM.

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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Monday June 29 | 5pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    CROATIA vs. POLAND
    Parken Stadium, Copenhagen


    CROATIA 1. Dominik Livakovic, 2. Sime Vrsaljko, 6. Dejan Lovren*, 21. Domagoj Vida, 3. Borna Barisic, 10. Luka Modric (C), 7. Ivan Rakitic, 11. Marcelo Brozovic, 4. Ivan Perisic, 17. Josip Brekalo, 20. Bruno Petkovic*

    POLAND 1. Wojciech Szczesny, 4. Tomasz Kedziora, 5. Jan Bednarek, 15. Kamil Glik, 17. Arkadiusz Reca*, 7. Piotr Zielinski, 6. Jacek Goralski, 14. Mateusz Klich, 11. Kamil Grosicki, 23. Krzysztof Piatek, 9. Robert Lewandowski (C)
    *= Booked in previous game


    A wretched game of football between two sides seemingly too afraid of making a mistake. If you rushed home from work on a Monday evening to catch this, you’ll have instant regret, as you’d have probably had more fun sat in rush hour traffic, or on a cramped bus/train/tube. After failing to keep a clean sheet for three group games, Croatia tighten up considerably, not putting a single foot wrong, and Poland are just as stable, not rocking the boat in any way, either.

    Despite being well rested after missing the third group game through suspension, even Luka Modric fails to provide any class or precision, whilst a combination of poor service, and an inspired performance from Dejan Lovren defensively keeps Robert Lewandowski quiet for Poland. Lovren – having been ridiculed for his performances during the group stages – does plenty in the 90 minutes to shut his doubters up, at least for one game. Lovren puts in a “Man Of The Match” performance, which says it all about the quality on show.


    FINAL SCORE
    Croatia 0-0 Poland


    And extra time is just another thirty minutes of turgid, cautious football. The only saving grace of the added half hour is the final whistle … meaning we’ll at least get the drama of a penalty shoot out.


    AFTER EXTRA TIME
    Croatia 0-0 Poland


    (Bookings; Ivan Rakitic, Robert Lewandowski)
    (Man Of The Match: Dejan Lovren)


    It’s Kovacic to get us started for Croatia, having only came on as a substitute at the beginning of extra time…

    Spoiler:

    SENDS THE KEEPER THE WRONG WAY!!!

    Kovacic’s finish is smart and assured; no nerves there, and SHOULD calm the rest of his side.

    Lewandowski is leading from the front for Poland…

    Spoiler:

    AND BURIES HIS PENALTY INTO THE BOTTOM CORNER!!!

    Keeper went the right way, but the finish was immaculate from Lewandowski; the keeper going the right way made no difference!!

    Now, Josip Brekalo, the emerging star of the Croatian side…

    Spoiler:

    NERVES OF STEEL!!! STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!

    Two out of two for Croatia, putting the pressure on the Poles.

    Piatek is up next for Poland…

    Spoiler:

    KEEPER GETS A HAND TO IT… BUT IT STILL TRICKLES IN!!!

    Hearts in mouths momentarily there for Poland, but the powerful effort makes it 2-2, frustrating the keeper.

    Croatia’s captain, Luka Modric steps up after a quiet performance…

    Spoiler:

    BUT STROKES THE PENALTY TO THE BOTTOM CORNER; KEEPER GOES THE WRONG WAY!!!

    No drama for Modric, once again putting the pressure on Poland to level the scores.

    And Kamil Glik, the central defender, steps up for Poland, just as he did at Euro 2016…

    Spoiler:

    STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE-

    OFF THE BAR!!!!!

    OH NO!!! Disaster for Glik!! The first miss of the shoot-out, and it could be a costly one!

    Ante Rebic can now put his side within touching distance…
    Spoiler:


    SAVED!!!

    Poor spot kick – at a comfortable height for the keeper, and a lifeline for Poland!!

    Blaszczykowski now has the chance to bring the scores level…

    Spoiler:

    AND DOES!!! HIGH TO THE KEEPERS RIGHT; THE KEEPER DOVE LOW!!

    3-3 after four penalties each!!

    And Ivan Rakitic trundles up to take his kick, looking exhausted…

    Spoiler:

    BUT SMASHES THE BALL DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!

    Rakitic puts Poland into a sudden death position with that one!!

    All the pressure is on Rybus now, with the substitute stepping up ahead of some others you’ve might’ve expected to take a spot kick first…

    Spoiler:

    AND PUTS IT WIDE OF THE POST!!!!

    POLAND CRASH OUT; CROATIA ARE THROUGH!!!!!



    PENALTY SHOOT-OUT
    Croatia 4-3 Poland
    Kovacic Scored aaa Lewandowski Scored
    Brekalo Scored aaa Piatek Scored
    Modric Scored aaa Glik Missed
    Rebic Missed aaa Blaszczykowski Scored
    Rakitic Scored aaa Rybus Missed













    Monday June 29 | 8pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    GERMANY vs. RUSSIA
    National Arena, Bucharest



    GERMANY 1. Manuel Neuer (C), 13. Lukas Klostermann, 5. Jonathan Tah, 4. Matthias Ginter, 16. Marcel Halstenberg*, 6. Joshua Kimmich, 8. Toni Kroos*, 10. Julian Brandt, 20. Serge Gnabry, 7. Kai Havertz, 9. Timo Werner

    RUSSIA1. Guilherme, 21. Sergei Petrov, 5. Andrei Semenov, 14. Georgi Dzhikiya, 18. Yuri Zhirkov*, 11. Roman Zobnin*, 7. Magomed Ozdoyev, 20. Zelimkhan Bakayev, 6. Denis Cheryshev, 17. Aleksandr Golovin, 22. Artem Dzuyba (C)
    *= Booked in previous game


    Russia are out to spring a surprise, and almost catch the Germans cold in the opening sixty seconds with Cheryshev having a go from outside the box – leaving Neuer rooted to the spot – and luckily for the Germans the shot just clips the post as it heads wide. Dzyuba – on three goals for the tournament – looks as if he’s going to cause havoc for Tah and Ginter from the early going, but his finishing isn’t as sharp as it could or should be, sending one shot wide, and not getting a strong enough connection on a header, allowing Neuer to collect with ease.

    Despite Russia starting the brighter, once Joachim Lows side got to grips with the game, it already felt like Russia’s chance had come and gone. With the front three of Gnabry, Werner and Havertz beginning to click into gear, it was a matter of time before the first goal. Bravely, Russia hold out, and Guilherme – the underfire goalkeeper who cost Russia second place after a costly error against the Danes – redeems himself with a splendid double save at one point from Werner.

    And while the keeper manages to keep the attacking trio at bay, it’s Julian Brandt – deployed a little deeper – that is the one to break the deadlock just before the half hour. Russia scramble the ball clear from another German attack, but with Brandt arriving, he fakes a shot when taking control, opening everything up for him to place the ball into the bottom corner, and even the inspired Guilherme can’t get there to stop it!!! With Russia left chasing the game, Roman Zobnin ends up picking up a yellow card for a late challenge when try to stop another dangerous German foray forward.

    Gnabry should double the lead after Werner has a shot saved, but the Bayern attacker puts too much on his finish – from only 8 yards out – and somehow blasts the ball over the bar in the end. A let off for Russia just before the break, and a chance for the underdogs to regroup during the break. And, they do return with a renewed vigour, with Dzyuba once more using his physicality; but it’s a little bit too much physicality, as the Russian captain earns a place in the book for the use of an elbow against Tah.

    And despite Tah needing treatment on the sideline as a result of the Russians errant elbow, even reduced temporarily to ten men, Germany manage to double their lead, looking unstoppable as they stream forward … too much for the Russian backline to cope with, overwhelmed, as Kroos picks out SERGE GNABRY – who lashes the ball home with a VOLLEY that rifles into the net!!! It’s Gnabry’s second of the tournament, and it’s an encapsulation of the Germans attacking football at it’s ruthless best.

    Two up before the hour, the remaining 35 minutes of the game feels like a procession, with Germany looking capable of going through the gears at any time they wish, but Kai Havertz is soon replaced – with future games in mind – as is Julian Brandt and Toni Kroos … but though the Germans take their foot off the gas in an attacking sense, they never look uncomfortable in the latter stages, as Russia put up a fruitless effort in chasing the game, and a limp exit for Russia is compounded when Zobnin picks up a second yellow card.

    Reduced to ten men, Russia are unable to provide any threat in the final ten minutes, and it’s Germany that put the exclamation point on their victory, with Gnabry cutting inside, working space for himself to curl his effort beyond Guilherme!!! Rejected by Tony Pulis, the former Arsenal man seals victory for the ruthlessly efficient Germans, who continue to grow into the tournament, peaking now in the knockout stages. This isn’t a side in transition; this is a group of contenders to win it all.


    FINAL SCORE
    Germany 3-0 Russia
    Brandt 27 aaaaa Zobnin Sent Off 81
    Gnabry 55, 87

    (Bookings; Joshua Kimmich, Roman Zobnin x2, Atrem Dzyuba)
    (Man Of The Match: Serge Gnabry)








    Let me know if the penalty shoot-out's can be improved in some way. Last two games of the round coming up tomorrow with England vs. Portugal in Dublin and Spain vs. Switzerland in Glasgow.

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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    блять!!

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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Tuesday June 30 | 5pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    ENGLAND vs. PORTUGAL
    Aviva Stadium, Dublin


    ENGLAND – 1. Jordan Pickford, 2. Trent Alexander-Arnold*, 12. Joe Gomez, 6. Harry Maguire, 3. Ben Chilwell, 4. Harry Winks, 8. Jordan Henderson*, 16. Declan Rice, 7. Raheem Sterling, 11. Jadon Sancho, 9. Harry Kane (C)

    PORTUGAL 1. Rui Patricio, 15. Ricardo Pereira*, 4. Ruben Dias, 6. Jose Fonte, 5. Raphael Guerreiro*, 14. William Carvalho, 18. Ruben Neves*, 16. Bruno Fernandes*, 10. Bernardo Silva, 7. Cristiano Ronaldo* (C), 23. Joao Felix
    *= Booked in previous game


    There’s no warm welcome for England in Dublin, with reports of the English teams hotel having it’s fire alarm set off in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with the locals firmly in support of Portugal – despite their late winner against the French being the goal that knocked Ireland out of the competition – but Gareth Southgate spoke positively before the game, stating that those actions had fired his side up to prove a point. Not that England would need any extra motivation against a side that has gotten the better of them in their last three meetings at major tournaments (x2 penalty shoot outs, and a group stage win at Euro 2000).

    Much debate before the game was over who Southgate would select in goal, after Dean Hendersons ‘Man Of The Match’ performance in the group game with the Czech Republic, but Jordan Pickford got the nod ahead of his rival, whilst Declan Rice was selected in midfield ahead of Ross Barkley, with the England coach looking for more protection for the defence, against the attacking threats posed by the Portuguese, who kept faith in Joao Felix despite a lacklustre showing from the starlet thus far through the tournament. Indeed, Portugal were unchanged from the team that defeated France to qualify in dramatic fashion.

    Both sides are tentative in the opening ten minutes, neither wanting to make an early mistake. Much has been made in the press of Harry Kane’s performances thus far in the tournament; just one goal – a penalty – to his name, and little else of value to the side, with the Captain still looking short of match fitness. And it’s that missing step that allows Portugal to cope with the striker with each, though Guerriero and Pereira that are much busier, dealing with Sterling and Sancho – two attackers that are firing on all cylinders – wreaking havoc going forward … but lacking a finishing touch.

    At the other end, Ronaldo appears to take up a central position, doing little for the cause, and no doubt setting himself for a sudden burst when required. Joao Felix could be accused of trying too hard, drifting from left to right, but unable to make an impact against either of Englands alert full backs. Indeed, Alexander-Arnold, with a goal already to his name in the tournament, poses more of a threat going forward, launching an effort thirty yards from goal, but Patricio manages to parry the effort and collect the ball. He fires the ball right down the pitch, picked up by Bernardo Silva-

    Taking a touch, then feathers it through the middle of the defence-

    AND RONALDO BURSTS PAST MAGUIRE WITH EASE-

    BUT GOMEZ GETS ACROSS TO SLIDE IN AND SEND THE BALL OUT FOR A CORNER BEFORE RONALDO CAN FIRE A SHOT AT GOAL!!!

    Maguire was caught cold by Ronaldo, but had Gomez to mop up, conceding the corner, which Bruno Fernandes sends in-

    PICKFORD COMES AND GETS NOWHERE!!

    RONALDO RISES HIGHEST-

    AND POWERS A HEADER INTO THE VACANT NET!!!!!

    Portugal take the lead!! And for the first time in these championships, England trail!! Ronaldo grabs the headlines for Portugal once again!! Big questions to be asked of England now, but it’s a dangerous period in the aftermath, with Portugal buoyed by their opener, as England are forced to hold on against the creative incisiveness of Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, and the marauding Ronaldo, who blasts an effort just over the bar – but Pickford was clearly well beaten.

    England get through a pretty torrid ten minute spell, and can probably count themselves fortunate to only be one goal behind by the half hour mark. But; they DO get through that period, thanks to a pair of strong saves from Jordan Pickford; one from Ronaldo, and another from Felix, but has Maguire and Gomez to thank for clearing the danger in the aftermath, having been unable to keep hold of the ball on either occasion. It’s concerning for England though, having added Rice into the starting eleven to provide more defensive cover in midfield, to see their side now getting overrun by their opponents.

    Despite Rice – and England in general – struggling to contain Portugal, with Portugal spurning chances to double the lead, it serves to boost Englands confidence in the closing stages of the first half, though they start to revert to route one football, with long balls toward the front line … and Harry Kane has little joy in those duels. Sterling and Sancho both look to make something happen when they get on the ball, having little joy, but it’s a rasping effort from Jordan Henderson from a long way out that forces Patricio to send the ball over the bar to prevent a goal.

    Chance for England from the corner … floated in…

    MAGUIRE WINS THE HEADER-

    DIVING EFFORT TO SAVE IT BY PATRICIO!!!

    BUT KANE IS THERE FOR THE FOLLOW UP!!

    ENGLAND ARE LEVEL!!!

    NO!! THEY’RE NOT!!!

    Harry Kanes joy is soon ripped away – THE GOAL IS RULED OUT!!

    Harry Maguire is adjudged to have pushed Fonte when jumping for the ball, and England’s search for an equaliser will go on!! It’s almost a double blow for England too, with Portugal grabbing the initiative, and sensing England could be there for the taking coming into half time. Portugal lurk menacingly outside the England area, waiting for a moment to strike … and it looks like Bruno Fernandes is shaping up to strike one from outside the box…

    BUT DINKS IT THROUGH INSTEAD-

    AND RONALDO MUSCLES MAGUIRE OUT OF THE WAY TO CHEST THE BALL DOWN-

    AND POKES IT AT GOAL-

    IT’S BEATEN PICKFORD-

    BUT COMES OFF THE POST!!!

    England clear the danger – albeit raggedly – and breathe a sigh of relief when the half time whistle comes, having spent the final five minutes of the half camped in their own half. It’s something they’ve not been used to in quite some time, but England are very much on the back foot in this game, with Portugal – having been rather dire at times in the group stages – seemingly hitting their stride now in the knockout stages. Southgate resists the urge to make any sweeping changes during the break, keeping the faith in the eleven that started the game…

    But the second half gets off to a rather ominous start as Declan Rice picks up a yellow card – the first of the game – for a late challenge after a smart piece of play from Bernardo Silva, giving away a free kick in a dangerous area. There’s no prizes for guessing which Portuguese diva is going to have a go at this either-

    AND RONALDO STRIKES-

    BUT IT’S BLOCKED BY THE (SLAB) HEAD OF MAGUIRE!!!

    The deflection taken the ball out for a corner, but England are able to clear the danger … and suddenly, its opening up for them on the break!! Portugal committed a large number of men forward for the corner … and THEY’RE OUTNUMBERED WITH ENGLAND ON THE COUNTER!!!

    Ben Chilwell carries the ball forward, and has Sancho and Sterling ahead of him, with Harry Kane trying to get up in support … and the full back looks to switch the play with a cross field pass for Sterling …

    TAKING IT PAST GUERREIRO WITH A TOUCH-

    BUT THE LEFT BACK IS ALL OVER STERLING, DRAGGING HIM BACK!!!

    The Dortmund man sacrifices himself – and his place for a potential quarter final – picking up a yellow card for his professional foul … but England are looking for a stronger punishment. There’s a brief VAR check over the incident, with England – and the English commentators – believing Sterling was in on goal … though it’s adjudged that Neves would’ve gotten across. A let off for Portugal – though Jonathan Pearce is questioning everything now about VAR – and the incident fires up Southgates men.

    Feeling hard done by, England step up their own forward movement, looking much closer to the side that breezed through much of the group stage … but they’re missing the important piece of the puzzle; a goal. Harry Kane is still misfiring; his best effort a daisy cutter that limps wide of the mark. Sterling is wasteful in front of goal; blasting an effort right at Patricio. Sancho uses the wrong judgment; playing across goal when a shot was on, and vice versa. Despite that, the period of dominance for England forces Portugal into changes to protect the lead, with Felix withdrawn and Moutinho introduced to bolster their numbers in midfield.

    Moutinho’s experience helps plug the gaps for Portugal, and allows them to keep possession better, with his cool head allowing the side to regroup and begin to put together some more dangerous attacks of their own – and a goal at this point for Portugal would surely kill England off – but Maguire is much improved during the second 45 minutes, having been shaky – at best – during the first half. Ronaldo’s influence appears to wane during the second half too, but with time ticking down, it may not matter.

    Throwing caution to the wind, Southgate is forced to roll the dice, bringing on Rashford for Ben Chilwell in an ultra attacking move … and when that change fails to bring the goal England desperately need, he makes another bold substitution as Ross Barkley replaces Declan Rice. Two defensive players off, two attacking minded players now on. And whilst England threaten with the extra numbers in attacking positions … they’re leaving themselves exposed at the back, and a lumped clearance from Fonte sees the bounce-

    BEAT MAGUIRE!!!

    The Manchester United defender is scrambling now, as Ronaldo darts in, springing to life as he gets control of the ball in the box-

    BUT CAN’T GET HIS FEET RIGHT!!

    The ball ends up trickling away, as Pickford bravely leaps on it, taking a kick from Ronaldo – who avoids a booking with the referee adjudging he had every right to attack the ball – and saves the blushes of his centre half. England are soon down the other end, looking dangerous, needing the right ball into the box from Sterling…

    BUT HE GETS DISPOSSESSED!!!

    PORTUGAL BREAK AGAIN!!!

    Pereira plays a one two with Moutinho, and has acres of space down the exposed left hand side of England, but instead of sending the ball into the box, he cuts it back to Fernandes …

    Who releases it first time to find the run of Bernardo Silva in the box-

    PLAYED ACROSS THE FACE OF GOAL BY SILVA-

    RONALDO LOOKS TO GET THE TOUCH-

    TAKEN OFF HIS TOE BY GOMEZ!!!

    Joe Gomez saves England a certain goal for Portugal; it only needed directed goal ward … and that would’ve finished them off. England can breathe again … at least until the corner is whipped in…

    PICKFORD COMES AGAIN-

    AND MISSES AGAIN!!!

    TOO HIGH FOR RONALDO THIS TIME…

    BUT DIAS GETS A TOUCH TOWARD GOAL-

    IT’S BLOCKED BY HIS OWN PLAYER!!!

    JOSE FONTE GOT IN THE WAY OF DIAS EFFORT!!!

    And amidst the confusion, Alexander-Arnold gets the ball clear out of the danger zone and out to safety!!! The Liverpool full back is quickly back in action again, reading the play well from the throw in, and intercepting Bernardo Silvas attempted pass to Bruno, and he sets off an England foray forward!! Bursting clear, Alexander-Arnold beats Guerreiro, and threads it through…

    FOR STERLING TO TRY AND LIFT IT OVER THE KEEPER-

    NO!!!!

    RUI PATRICIO GETS A HAND UP TO BLOCK IT!!!

    THE REBOUND FALLS TO KANE-

    DOUBLE SAVE FROM THE KEEPER!!!

    Portugal concede a corner to prevent another England attempt, but it’s frenetic scenes in Dublin, with eight minutes left on the clock. England fans heads are in hands after that double chance, but they’ve got another from Alexander-Arnold’s corner…

    KANE IS UP TO MEET IT-

    BUT CAN’T GET IT ON TARGET-

    BUT HARRY MAGUIRE THROWS HIMSELF AT THE BALL AT THE FAR POST-

    DIRECTING IT INTO THE NET!!!!

    AND THIS TIME IT WILL COUNT!!! ENGLAND DRAW LEVEL!!!

    SLABHEAD TO THE RESCUE!!!

    With that goal, all the momentum is suddenly on Englands side, and they threaten with the majority of possession, but fail to open up Portugal in the dying minutes, as the reigning European champions make themselves tight and compact to get through this spell and make it to extra time…

    BUT IT COULD BE MORE THAN THAT FOR PORTUGAL…

    THEY BREAK IN INJURY TIME…

    RONALDO STEAMING THROUGH WITH THE BALL!!!

    THE CAPTAIN WANTS TO GO IT ALONE-

    BUT A BLOCK FROM RICE SEES THE BALL FALL LOOSE…

    TOWARD BRUNO FERNANDES-

    WHO STRIKES IT FIRST TIME!!!

    IT’S LOOPING…

    BUT LANDS JUST PAST THE CROSSBAR AND ONTO THE NETTING!!

    A final scare in normal time for England … and for the third time in knockout football, they’ll go to EXTRA TIME against Portugal!!


    FINAL SCORE
    England 1 – 1 Portugal
    Maguire 82 aaa Ronaldo 17



    Southgate plays it cautiously for extra time, having seen his side exposed late on, and introduces Eric Dier for Harry Winks, and Raheem Sterling makes way for Danny Rose, with the coach clearly not liking his sides chances of getting through extra time without a left back. During extra time, Portugal also make changes, and just like England, use their fourth substitute – an additional sub permitted during extra time – as Diogo Jota takes to the field for Neves, and Pepe provides fresh legs – but certainly not a calm head – for the tiring Fonte.

    Chances are at a premium during a rather energy sapping half hour in extra time. Both sides pushed hard during the 90, and it’s only Marcus Rashford for England and Jota for Portugal that look like really making anything happen for either side. Luckily for England, both Bruno and Silva struggle to find their golden touch due to fatigue, and at the other end, Rashford doesn’t have the support he needs, with Harry Kane little more than a passenger at this stage and surely only left on the field to take a penalty … and that’s exactly what he’ll have to do…

    Because after an agonizing thirty minutes, England and Portugal are headed to a penalty shoot-out. Only Death and Taxes are more certain outcomes in life. Having banished their penalty hoodoo against Colombia at the World Cup two years ago, there’s nothing for England to fear … except the looming spectre of history repeating. In 2004; Portugal defeated England in a Penalty Shoot-out. In 2006; Portugal defeated England in a Penalty Shoot-out. There’s another hoodoo for England to overcome now…



    AFTER EXTRA TIME
    England 1 –1 Portugal
    Maguire 82 aaa Ronaldo 17

    (Bookings; Raheem Sterling, Harry Winks, Declan Rice, Raphael Guerreiro)
    (Man Of The Match: Bruno Fernandes)



    Portugal will take first … and it’s RONALDO stepping up to lead the way against Pickford…

    Spoiler:

    HE’S SKIED IT!!!

    Ronaldo went for power, and got TOO MUCH of it!!! His face tells the story, and it’s a nightmare start for the defending champions!!!

    HARRY KANE, a spectator for long stretches of the game – long stretches of the tournament – has scored one and missed one from the spot during the group stages…

    Spoiler:

    BUT MAKES NO MISTAKE HERE!!!

    England take an early lead, with Kane delivering a perfectly struck penalty under pressure!!!

    Suddenly, the pressure has mounted on Manchester City’s BERNARDO SILVA as he steps up to get Portugal off the mark…

    Spoiler:

    AND DOES!!

    Sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, Bernardo Silva gets Portugal on the board.

    And now, MARCUS RASHFORD steps up for England…

    Spoiler:

    BURIES IT INTO THE BOTTOM CORNER!!!

    A carbon copy of Harry Kanes effort!! Rui Patricio guessed right, but the penalty was struck too well for him to get anywhere near it!!

    Rashfords team mate; BRUNO FERNANDES is next for Portugal… with a skip in his run up-

    PICKFORD GETS A FINGER TIP-

    Spoiler:

    BUT NOT ENOUGH!!!

    Bruno can breathe a sigh of relief on that one!! Pickford can kick himself though; he should’ve saved it!!

    It’s JADON SANCHO to strike next for England and keep their 100% record going…

    Spoiler:

    STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE!!!

    3-2 England!! No chances being taken by Sancho there under pressure.

    But there IS plenty of pressure on this kick from JOAO MOUTINHO for Portugal. The veteran must score, otherwise England will have a chance to seal victory with their next kick-
    Spoiler:


    SAVED BY PICKFORD!!!

    Pickford got a solid hand to the penalty this time!!! And England are on the brink of qualification in Dublin!!!

    JORDAN HENDERSON has the responsibility – having missed in 2018 – the Liverpool captain can seal victory from the spot…

    Spoiler:

    NO!!! PATRICIO SAVES!!!

    Lifeline for Portugal!! Hendersons kick was poor; a comfortable height for the Wolves keeper, who saves the blushes of his own club teammate Moutinho for now…

    But it’s another Wolves player stepping up. DIOGO JOTA must score here or Portugal are out. ALL the pressure is on the striker…
    Spoiler:


    PANENKA!!!

    The cheek of it!! Diogo Jota – knowing a miss would eliminate his side – risks it all with the gamble of going for style … but he can breathe a sigh of relief; it’s 3-3… but England will win it…

    If ROSS BARKLEY can put his effort away…

    OHHHH-

    Spoiler:

    HE’S HIT THE UPRIGHT!!!!!

    Barkley drops to the ground; desolate. England have had TWO bites at the cherry to finish this contest, and they’ve missed them both!! We’re going to SUDDEN DEATH!!

    And RAPHAEL GUERREIRO has the opportunity to put Portugal in front for the first time in the shoot-out!! They’ve been behind from the beginning…

    Spoiler:

    SENDS PICKFORD THE WRONG WAY-

    BUT THE BALL IS WIDE OF THE POST!!!!!

    And for the THIRD time, England have the chance to win the shoot-out!!

    Eric Dier was poised to step up … but TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD has seemingly jumped the queue. There’s some confusion among the England players at the half way line, and Dier doesn’t look best pleased…

    Spoiler:

    BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER-

    THE LIVERPOOL FULL BACK FIRES THE BALL INTO THE NET!!!

    ENGLAND HAVE WON ANOTHER BLOODY PENALTY SHOOT-OUT!!!!!!

    Trent Alexander-Arnold is the hero of the hour, after England made their fans go through the ringer once again!! Another ghost is banished with a win over Portugal in a shoot-out … the reigning champions are out, and England progress – under dramatic circumstances – to the Quarter-Finals!!!!!



    PENALTY SHOOTOUT
    England 4-3 Portugal
    Kane Scored aaa Ronaldo Missed
    Rashford Scored aaa B Silva Scored
    Sancho Scored aaaa B Fernandes Scored
    Henderson Missed aaaa Moutinho Missed
    Barkley Missed aaaa Jota Scored
    Alexander-Arnold Scored aaa Guerreiro Missed













    Tuesday June 30 | 8pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    SPAIN vs. SWITZERLAND
    Hampden Park, Glasgow



    SPAIN – 1. David DeGea, 2. Dani Carvajal, 15. Sergio Ramos (C), 4. Inigo Martinez, 18. Jordi Alba, 5. Sergio Busquets*, 8. Saul Niguez, 10. Thiago Alcantara, 21. Mikel Oyarzabal, 17. Fabian Ruiz, 9. Rodrigo

    SWITZERLAND – 1. Yann Sommer, 2. Stephen Lichtsteiner* (C), 4. Nico Elvedi, 22. Fabian Schar, 5. Manuel Akanji, 13. Ricardo Rodriguez, 17. Denis Zakaria, 8. Remo Freuler, 23. Xherdan Shaqiri*, 7. Admir Mehmedi, 9. Hans Seferovic
    *= Booked in previous game


    Switzerlands recent record in tournaments when making it out of the group stage; Round of 16 (USA ‘94), Round of 16 (Germany ‘06), Round of 16 (Brazil ‘14), Round of 16 (France ‘16) Round of 16 (Russia ‘18) … so you can see where this is going. As the fourth best third placed side in the group stages, Switzerland are pretty fortunate to have even made it out of the group on this occasion, and find themselves up against it from the kick off against the superior Spanish, with Spain setting up camp in the Swiss half and predominantly just outside the Swiss penalty area.

    It requires a great level of concentration from Switzerland to cope with the carousel of Spanish possession, pass after pass after pass … but for all their ball retention, Spain fail to make a single clear cut chance on goal in the opening twenty five minutes, restricted to longer range efforts, which Sommer is able to deal with with minimal fuss. On a rare foray forward, Shaqiri looks dangerous for Switzerland, taking on Jordi Alba … and with Alba having barely had to defend so far, Shaqiri is able to wrong foot his rival, working his way into a dangerous position-

    AND FORCES A GREAT SAVE AT THE NEAR POST FROM DE GEA!!!

    The most work either keeper has had to do in the opening half hour, and it’s De Gea that’s had to make the save! The corner is swung in-

    AND SCHAAR NIPS IN AT THE FRONT POST-

    THROUGH THE ARMS OF DE GEA!!!

    SWITZERLAND LEAD!!!!!

    Shocking scenes at Hampden!! The underdogs lead!! The goal forces Spain into more direct football – but they don’t exactly hit the panic button. Oyarzabal looks to make something happen, and Thiago lashes an effort at goal …

    IT’S BEATEN THE KEEPER-

    BUT IT’S JUST WIDE TOO!!!

    Sommer had no chance, but Thiago just couldn’t get his shot on target. It’s backs to the walls for the Swiss; but they’ve now got a lead to protect, as Zakaria turns in an impressive display in midfield, battling to protect his defence with Freuler - in for the suspended Xhaka … but the younger Zakaria makes a rash challenge in a dangerous area, earning himself a yellow card, and handing Spain an attempt at goal from the free kick.

    It’s hushed silence momentarily inside Hampden…

    Switzerland expect it to be Thiago-

    BUT IT’S RAMOS TO RIFLE IT-

    RIGHT AT THE WALL!!!

    Switzerland survive the scare, and make it through to half time with the lead … as some begin to wonder if they can repeat their group stage victory over Spain from the 2010 World Cup. They make a decent start to the second half, getting out of their own half much more, enjoying more possession … but Spain look to hit the Swiss on the counter in a bid to strike level … and still can’t find an equalizer!! Luis Enrique cuts a frustrated figure as the game goes on, seeing his side fail to break the stubborn Swiss down.

    And while there’s some latch ditch defending and fortunate deflections on the side of Switzerland, questions are raised about the Spanish attack, starting to look short of ideas at this point … before Paco Alcacer – with two goals to his name in the tournament so far – is introduced, albeit in a like for like substitution for Rodrigo. A more direct striker, but not exactly a risk from the manager. Spain continue to lurk on the edge of the area, looking for a way in… but one isn’t forthcoming. Fabian Ruiz looks to jink his way into the box-

    But Lichsteiner reads him like a book and steals the ball away!!!

    AND SWITZERLAND CAN BREAK!!!

    The captain hoofs the ball forward for Shaqiri to chase-

    And the diminutive attacker chests it ahead to chase further-

    JUST AS SERGIO RAMOS COMES CHARGING IN WITH A HIGH BOOT!!!

    Ramos wipes out Shaqiri … and though it’s initially only a YELLOW for the Spanish captain … upon further review … THE REFEREE CHANGES HIS MIND AND SHOWS RAMOS RED!!!!!

    The task just got harder for Spain!! Reduced to ten men after a disgusting challenge from their captain and chasing the game, Spain have it ALL to do in the final fifteen minutes!!! Shaqiri has to be treated on the side lines with a nasty gash on his cheek from the high boot … and BOTH sides are down to ten for the time being!! Switzerland hold off on substituting their star man … and still find themselves defending deep to protect the lead, not getting the benefit of the man advantage.

    Shaqiri eventually DOES return, but even though Spain are a man light, they’re still the ones pressing forward. Luis Enrique does take a risk in the end, taking Alba off and sending Morata on up top, whilst Switzerland are shoring up their defence with an extra man. The final ten minutes are almost exclusively in the Switzerland half, as clearances continuously get picked up again by a Spanish shirt to get sent back into the area. IF Switzerland could break, they’d surely double the lead … but they can’t get out.

    Switzerland do their best to run down the clock; Freuler is treated for cramp, Lichsteiner takes an age to leave the field as he is substituted, and Sommer lays on the ball for an extra couple of seconds each time he collects. Time is running out for Spain, matters made worse by the sending off of their captain … leaving themselves vulnerable for a counter attack with only Carvajal now staying back to defend. Switzerland make it deep into injury time, looking like they’ll see it out …

    When Oyarzabal shimmies past Zuber-

    AND HIS EFFORT TAKES A WICKER DEFLECTION OFF SCHAAR-

    FORCING SOMMER TO SCRAMBLE ACROSS GOAL AND PUSH IT WIDE!!!!!

    A late corner for Spain … and they’re even sending DAVID DE GEA forward!!!

    ALL OR NOTHING FOR SPAIN – ALL ELEVEN MEN IN THE SWISS BOX FOR THE CORNER-

    PUT SOMMER PUNCHES CLEAR!!!!

    AND SHAQIRI GETS TO THE BALL AHEAD OF CARVAJAL!!!!!

    The defender makes a desperate lunge – but Shaqiri hurdles the challenge at the half way line-

    AND HE’S IN ON GOAL!!!!

    SHAQIRI HAS A HALF TO HIMSELF – AND EVEN HAS TIME TO LOOK BACK AS SPAIN GIVE UP THE CHASE…

    WITH THE SWISS ATTACKER WALKING THE BALL INTO THE NET!!!

    SEALING A FAMOUS SWITZERLAND VICTORY AGAINST THE ODDS!!!!!

    A monumental shock in the Round of Sixteen; Spain – who so effortlessly strolled through the group stages, and looked like one of the favourites to win it all – have come unstuck in Glasgow!!! Switzerland break their own hoodoo; they progress BEYOND the first knockout round of a major international tournament for the first time since they hosted the World Cup in 1954!!! Switzerland celebrate into the night; the most famous victory in their nations history, 2-0 against Spain!!! And they’ll meet England now in Rome on Saturday!!!


    FINAL SCORE
    Spain 0 – 2 Switzerland
    Ramos S/O 74 aa Schaar 29
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.. Shaqiri 90+3


    (Bookings; Sergio Ramos x2, Saul Niguez, Denis Zakaria, Manuel Akanji)
    (Man Of The Match: Yann Sommer)

  8. #128
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    That penalty shootout was such a cock tease







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  9. #129
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020



    ahhhhhhhhh that 16 year wait for revenge. So sweet. Excellent write up. It's coming home.

  10. #130
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Beast View Post
    A monumental shock in the Round of Sixteen; Spain – who so effortlessly strolled through the group stages, and looked like one of the favourites to win it all...
    Pretty much sounds like Hungary 1954.

    Great read, Wolf Beast!

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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Quarter Finals;

    Belgium vs. Italy
    July 3 | Munich | 5pm
    Belgium will be sweating on the fitness of Romelu Lukaku, after their record goalscorer missed the win over Scotland on Sunday. Belgium managed to get by the Scots without the striker, but clearly missed his presence, with Michy Batshuayi failing to fill the void. Meanwhile, Italy don't have any fitness concerns, but they will be without Marco Verrati in midfield after the PSG man picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Austria. Both sides have a number of players on a yellow card coming into this one, knowing that if they get through this one unscathed, their yellow card will be wiped prior to the Semi-Final. Roberto Mancini will come up against Roberto Martinez in the dug out for the first time since Martinez Wigan side upset Mancini's Manchester City in a famous F.A Cup Final in 2013.


    Germany vs. Croatia
    July 3 | St. Petersburg | 8pm

    Croatia should probably be worried. Having made it to the quarter finals with just one win inside 90 minutes, the World Cup Runners Up have been far from impressive throughout the tournament to this point. Having lost 5-0 in their opening game, Croatia were perhaps fortunate to even advance from the group stage, and inspired few with a tepid display against Poland, where they battled through via penalties. They now meet a Germany side that has steadily improved with each performance, and their new crop of stars have stepped up to leave the previous era as somewhat of a distant memory. With Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt all on top form, it could be a long evening in Russia for Croatia, with Luka Modric and company hoping to channel their exploits of 2018 back in the country of that wonderful World Cup.


    Switzerland vs. England
    July 4 | Rome | 5pm
    Not the game many would've expected. Especially when England were forced into a penalty shoot-out against perennial bogey-side, Portugal in the round of sixteen. But more unlikely than England winning a penalty shoot-out against Portugal would've been Switzerland defeating Spain later on Tuesday night. That 2-0 victory against all odds sent shockwaves throughout the footballing world, as Sergio Ramos shithoused his way into a red card, and Spain sent everyone forward to chase an equalizer, which ultimately led to a famous Swiss victory. England fans are already planning for the Semi-Finals back in London, with fewer than expected travelling to Rome, and instead planning on it ~ahem~ coming home. But having dispatched of the Spanish, Switzerland are bullish about their chances of pulling off another monumental upset.


    France vs. Turkey
    July 4 | Baku | 8pm
    France will head to Azerbaijan as the firm favourites, but Turkey will have no fear of the World Champions. Having taken four points of the French in qualification for the tournament, Turkey have every reason to be confident, but not only that; Turkey will have the benefit of having already played two group games in Baku - and scored two victories - with that particular stadium feeling more like a home away from home. France though, appearing to be warming up to the tournament, much like they did in Russia two years ago at the World Cup. Putting five past a good Dutch side in the Round of Sixteen, the World Champions showed their cutting edge, and may be saving their best for the latter stages. Both sides have selection issues though, as Kante and Griezmann are suspended for France, and as a result of a red card against Denmark, Turkey will be without Ozan Tufan, whilst both Yilmaz and Calhanoglu will face late fitness tests.








    Semi Finals;

    Belgium OR Italy vs. Germany OR Croatia
    July 7 | London

    Switzerland OR England vs. France OR Turkey
    July 8 | London





    Race For The Golden Boot:

    M Depay; 4
    A Dzyuba; 3
    J Sancho; 3
    R Lukaku; 3
    M Boadu; 3
    K Mbappe; 3
    C Ronaldo; 3
    A Griezmann; 3
    S Gnabry; 3

    Quarter Finals to kick off on Friday.

  12. #132
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Friday July 3rd | 5pm

    QUARTER-FINALS
    BELGIUM vs. ITALY
    Allianz Arena, Munich


    BELGIUM 1. Thibaut Courtois, 15. Thomas Meunier, 2. Toby Alderweireld, 4. Vincent Kompany, 5. Jan Vertonghen, 8. Youri Tielemens, 6. Axel Witsel, 7. Kevin De Bruyne, 16. Thorgan Hazard, 10. Eden Hazard (C), 9. Romelu Lukaku

    ITALY – 21. Gianluigi Donnaruma, 2. Mattia De Sciglio, 19. Leonardo Bonucci (C), 3. Girogio Chiellini, 5. Emerson*, 8. Jorginho, 18. Nicolo Barella, 16. Lorenzo Pellegrini, 10. Lorenzo Insigne, 14. Federico Chiesa, 17. Ciro Immobile
    *= Booked in previous game


    VAR took centre stage in Munich, with the controversial technology ruling out what appeared to be two genuine goals for Belgium on Friday in an action packed second half. Romelu Lukaku and Jan Vertonghen were back in the line up for Belgium, but the centre forward didn’t last long before hobbling off in the fifteenth minute. Roberto Martinez gamble on his star striker not paying off in the end, and plumped for Divock Origi to replace the Inter Milan man out of his underwhelming options on the bench.

    But, try as he might, Origi failed to bring the same level of threat to the Italian backline, as Chiellini and Bonucci looked much more assured and confident in dealing with the Liverpool striker, with much less physicality than Lukaku to deal with. Belgium shaded the opening forty five minutes despite losing their #9, with both Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne going close with efforts from outside the area, whilst Thorgan Hazard delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal, which Origi failed to get a touch on.

    Italy struggled in the first half, clearly missing the suspended Marco Verratis midfield presence, and with Mancini having opted to play the more defensively minded DeSciglio over Florenzi at right back, the Italians gave Belgium the incentive throughout the opening period, as the front three of Insigne, Chiesa and Immobilewere starved of opportunities, making Courtois nothing more than a spectator early on. But, to their credit, Italy dug in, surviving until half time and getting an opportunity to regroup.

    Into the second half, Italy were much improved, and appeared to catch Belgium cold in the opening minutes of the second period, and capitalized on the sluggish Belgians, with Pellegrini dispossessing Witsel, and setting Immobile free, with the striker squaring the ball to Insigne, and with Courtois out of position, the Napoli man tapped home to put the former world champions ahead just five minutes into the second half!!! Against the pattern of the first half – but not necessarily against the run of play in the opening minutes of the second, Italy lead!!

    Naturally, the goal forced a response out of Belgium. Quickly, the Belgian side converged on the Italian goal, and Gianluigi Donnaruma played his part, with an exceptional double save to deny Thorgan Hazards effort from outside the box, and the rebound from Origi … though many would say that Origi snatched at his effort, when he had time to place a shot beyond the AC Milan stopper. Just after the hour mark, Eden Hazard struck THE BAR from a free kick, with it seeming like it would only be a matter of time before an equaliser.

    And indeed, Belgium THOUGHT they had grabbed the all important leveller through Thorgan Hazard when played in by De Bruyne, with his deft touch beating the in form Italian keeper … but despite the celebrations from Martinez men, the joy was short lived, as a VAR review led to the goal being disallowed – the younger Hazard adjudged to be offside due to an outstretched elbow being marginally ahead of Chiellini. Frustration for Belgium; a let off for Italy.

    With time ticking down, Italy appeared to be setting up shop to sit on the lead and try to catch Belgium on the break; a risky strategy … but one that very nearly saw them double the lead, only for a poor finish from Chiesa when one on one with Courtois after a slick Italian break from a Belgian corner. A reminder to Belgium just how dangerous Italy can be, and that another goal would almost certainly end the hopes of their “golden generation” winning a major championship.

    Despite dominating possession though, Belgium couldn’t carve out any clear cut chances, clearly missing an on-form Lukaku, and in chasing an equaliser, introduced Christian Benteke for added physicality up front and withdrawing the services of the booked Axel Witsel. Still though, there best chances were coming from range, and a deflected effort from Eden Hazard had Donnaruma beaten, but the ball would trickle wide for a corner kick … and while Vincent Kompany would win the aerial battle for the resulting corner, his header was directed over the bar.

    Still, Belgium poured forward in numbers coming into the final ten minutes, with Eden Hazard forcing his way through with a slalom-like run, bouncing off Italians, getting some luck too as the ball took a touch off the knee of Bonucci to aide his run into the box … lifting it over the goalkeeper… as Origi raced in to tap the ball home into the back of the net!!! EQUALIZER FOR BELGIUM!!!…

    Except, more controversy, more confusion. ANOTHER VAR check … and a decision that baffled and infuriated the Belgians; Origi’s goal would ALSO be ruled out!! The touch from Bonucci appeared to glance off the hand of Hazard – despite knowing nothing about it – and as a result; the goal was ruled out!! A second controversial decision against Belgium, and with the Belgians losing their composure, they’d go on to pick up three more yellow cards in the dying minutes, feeling the game slip away from them …

    And ultimately, Italy would add a second and decisive goal in the final minute of normal time, as Lorenzo Insigne grabbed a second of the game. To add insult to injury for Belgium, the Belgians believed there had been a foul in the build up to the second Italian goal … but even after a pitch side review, the goal stood. The Belgian challenge falls apart at the quarter final hurdle – albeit amidst a cloud of controversy – with Eden Hazard angrily stating in a post match interview that his side were beaten by VAR today; NOT Italy.


    FINAL SCORE
    Belgium 0-2 Italy
    aaaaaaaaaaaaa Insigne 50, 90

    (Bookings; Matia DeSciglio, Jorginho, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen, Eden Hazard, Divock Origi)
    (Man Of The Match: Gianluigi Donnaruma)











    Friday July 3rd | 8pm

    ROUND OF SIXTEEN
    GERMANY vs. CROATIA
    Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg



    GERMANY 1. Manuel Neuer (C), 13. Lukas Klostermann, 5. Jonathan Tah, 4. Matthias Ginter, 16. Marcel Halstenberg*, 6. Joshua Kimmich*, 8. Toni Kroos*, 10. Julian Brandt, 20. Serge Gnabry, 7. Kai Havertz, 9. Timo Werner

    CROATIA 1. Dominik Livakovic, 2. Sime Vrsaljko, 6. Dejan Lovren*, 21. Domagoj Vida, 3. Borna Barisic, 10. Luka Modric (C), 7. Ivan Rakitic*, 11. Marcelo Brozovic, 4. Ivan Perisic, 17. Josip Brekalo, 20. Bruno Petkovic*
    *= Booked in previous game


    Having offered performances ranging from unpredictable to outright terrible, Croatia had failed to make much of an impression despite progressing to the last eight, and little was expected of the World Cup runners up against the in-form Germans … but Germany were in for a shock, with a much improved display from Croatia, particularly Luka Modric. Despite much being made of Germany’s up-and-coming stars, it was the old hand in Modric that stole the show in St. Petersburg, pulling the strings for his side.

    But it wasn’t just Modric that showed a marked improved. The Ivans; Perisic and Rakitic also played their part, whilst Brekalo offered plenty of threat going forward. It asked plenty of questions of Joachim Loews new raft of talent, but the Germans rose to the challenge, and as a result – with two teams playing at the best of their ability – Croatia and Germany provided arguably the best game of football that the tournament has seen to this stage, played to the spirit of the game; not one yellow card issued.

    Lovren – having been much improved against Poland – was just as sharp against the attacking threats of Havertz & Gnabry, redeeming himself entirely for a frankly shambolic showing in the group stages, whilst Vida alongside him was just as impressive. Still, even at their best, Croatia’s defence struggled to keep the talent of Germany at bay, with Livakovic also earning himself plenty of plaudits with saves from all of Germany’s array of attacking talent, including a point black save from Timo Werner.

    Perhaps the moment to truly make a game of it would come when Croatia – through Ivan Perisic (in typical fashion; it’s every Ivan Perisic goal ever) – broke the deadlock, truly asking questions about what this German side was made of. Modric the provider, Perisic sweet left foot the finishing touch. Croatia would take the lead into half time, and in a 50/50 game, certainly couldn’t be accused of not earning that lead. It appeared as if playing in Russia really does bring out the best of the Croatians.

    And it could’ve been 2-0 ten minutes into the second half. A long clearance from a corner by Lovren would see Manuel Neuer come dangerously far out of his goal to challenge Petkovic in the air … and while the German keeper would win the header, he'd left his goal unmanned, the ball then fell to Brekalo, with the Croatian starlet lobbing the ball toward the empty goal as Neuer was left stranded … but Brekalo’s effort would HIT THE CROSSBAR!!! A let off for the Bayern stopper … and less than two minutes later, Germany would be level.

    A scintillating passing move – 19 in total – would result in the Germans cutting through Croatia, with Kai Havertz the recipient of a driven ball across the face of goal from Gnabry … and the Leverkusen man made no mistake from mere yards out!! With the game finely balanced at the hour mark, Germany made the curious move to bolster their midfield, taking off Werner for Gundogan, as Brandt was given more freedom to roam forward.

    And despite the more cautious substitution, Germany would begin to dominate in the final twenty minutes with Croatia beginning to tire. Rakitic was forced off for Croatia having succumbed to cramp – with Modric also suffering from cramp, but soldiering on – and with Germany appearing to remain strong, their relentless attacking football would continue to wear Croatia down in the latter stages. Still, Germany couldn’t find a winning goal, and it was a free kick for Croatia which threatened to upset the Germans, as Neuer had to tip Modrics effort over the bar!

    With Lovren and Vida still at the top of their game, it looked as if Croatia would at least make it into extra time – and allow them a chance to bring on another pair of fresh legs – with Germany also seemingly dropping off too, perhaps in preparation to give themselves another push in the additional thirty minutes … but Serge Gnabry had other ideas. Picking the ball up out wide, the Bayern attacker burst to life, weaving through Barisic and substitute Kovacic, before shimmying by Vida…

    Which left him clear on goal!! Dejan Lovren looked to make a desperate, last ditch lunge, but Gnabry’s deft touch with the outside of the boot takes the ball through the legs of Lovren, and squeezing by the Liverpool man, Gnabry got to swing a boot at the ball … AND BEATING LIVAKOVIC!!!!! A goal of the tournament contender of total individual brilliance from Gnabry; and a goal that sees Gnabry join Memphis Depay at the top of the goalscoring chart for the tournament!!! But unlike the Dutchman, Gnabry will play in at least one more game … as his wonder goal would indeed be the winning goal!!!

    From a goal behind, Germany see off an impressive and inspired Croatian side, all thanks to a spectacular solo effort from a man not deemed good enough for Arsenal or even Tony Pulis at West Brom. Germany – who kicked off the tournament at odds of 7/1 – are now installed as favourites, just ahead of England, but head to London for a Tuesday showdown with fellow international powerhouse Italy. And the Germans will be well aware that they have NEVER beaten Italy in an international tournament match in normal or extra time, with their penalty shoot-out victory at Euro 2016 their only success.


    FINAL SCORE
    Germany 2-1 Croatia
    Havertz 57 aaaa Perisic 38
    Gnabry 88

    (Bookings; None)
    (Man Of The Match: Luka Modric)







    Tomorrow (errr… later today...); Switzerland vs. England and France vs. Turkey.

  13. #133
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    Saturday July 4th | 5pm

    QUARTER-FINALS
    SWITZERLAND vs. ENGLAND
    Stadio Olimpico, Rome



    SWITZERLAND – 1. Yann Sommer, 6. Michael Lang, 4. Nico Elvedi, 22. Fabian Schar, 5. Manuel Akanji*, 13. Ricardo Rodriguez, 17. Denis Zakaria*, 10. Granit Xhaka (C), 23. Xherdan Shaqiri*, 7. Admir Mehmedi, 9. Hans Seferovic

    ENGLAND – 1. Jordan Pickford, 2. Trent Alexander-Arnold*, 12. Joe Gomez, 6. Harry Maguire, 3. Ben Chilwell, 8. Jordan Henderson*, 16. Declan Rice*, 20. Mason Mount, 7. Raheem Sterling*, 10. Marcus Rashford, 9. Harry Kane (C)
    *= Booked in previous game


    Despite Jordan Pickfords error strewn performance against Portugal, the England keeper seemingly redeemed himself during the penalty shoot-out and kept his place, but Gareth Southgate made two changes elsewhere, as Harry Winks dropped out of the starting line up, along with Jadon Sancho in a bid to freshen the side up at this stage after a leggy performance in Dublin. Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount the changes, with Southgate looking to go on the front foot in midfield.

    Switzerland meanwhile had Granit Xhaka back from suspension after he missed the historic 2-0 win against Spain, but Stephan Lichsteiner – the veteran captain – missed out, having picked up a knock in training. The Swiss came into the game fired up, having felt written off by the English press – and the English support – with many not travelling to Rome and instead remaining at home in anticipation of a semi-final date in London on Wednesday.

    And as the game got underway – familiar surroundings for Switzerland having played here during the group stage – both sides opened up cagily, feeling their way into the game. England had recent experience to call on, having reached the Semi-Final of the 2018 World Cup, and looked to play patiently, hoping to break the resolute Swiss down, with the Swiss in uncharted territory for many a generation in qualifying for a Quarter-Final of a major championship.

    Despite that, Switzerland didn’t appear overawed by the occasion, and quickly let England know they weren’t here to make up the numbers. With Shaqiri reaching top form, England – Trent Alexander-Arnold especially – would know all about the tricky Swiss attacker. And even though he’d barely been seen during the season, Shaqiri was coming into his own, giving his Liverpool team mate plenty of defending to do; something Alexander-Arnold isn’t typically used to doing.

    With the Liverpool right back occupied, much of Englands play from the back was coming from Gomez and Maguire; neither of which possessing the same quality of pass to start a move, resulting in a tetchy midfield battle over loose balls, as Xhaka and Henderson tussled over possession on more than one occasion, whilst Mount – brought in to provide more attacking impetus from the midfield – also had to do his fair share of grunt work, whilst Declan Rice cleaned up behind the pair, keeping an eye of Shaqiri when he drifted infield.

    England struggled to get anything going in attack either, well marshalled out wide, whilst Kane – having come under a lot of fire with calls for the captain to be dropped – continued to struggle, still looking like he was in less than perfect physical condition. Rashford looked dangerous when on the ball, bursting into the box, but determined defending from the three central defenders of Switzerland bravely threw their bodies in the way to charge down potential efforts at goal.

    At the other end, Shaqiri made space to unleash one attempt at goal, but his effort was wide of the mark, whilst Seferovic offered little threat to Maguire or Gomez and Mehmedi gave few problems to the back line either. However, a pile driver of an effort from Xhaka would be deflected wide for a corner, and with Switzerland having opened the scoring against Spain from a corner, England were on high alert. Not helped by another heart in mouth moment from Jordan Pickfords lack of assurance in goal – coming for, but not getting, the ball – England managed to clear the danger before Switzerland could capitalise.

    With half time approaching on a rather uneventful first half in Rome, Rashford – Englands only real bright spark in the opening forty five minutes – would once again burst into the box, and elected to blast the ball ACROSS goal … but as Kane went in to get a touch, Akanji appeared to TUG at the shirt of the England captain … eventually resulting in a PENALTY TO ENGLAND!!! Despite initially being waved off, a VAR review sees England awarded a golden opportunity to open the scoring … with Harry Kane looking to double his tally for the tournament…

    AND DOES!!! ENGLAND LEAD BEFORE HALF TIME!!! Harry Kane’s penalty is too well struck for Yann Sommer to get to, and though he’s done nothing else, Harry Kane has helped England put one foot into the semi-finals at Wembley!! Coming at a perfect time, a sucker punch for Switzerland, and England head into the break the much happier, holding the lead in a rather even, disjointed game. But one man would head in at half time livid with himself; Declan Rice picking up a yellow card for a challenge on Shaqiri, earning himself a suspension for the semi-final if England get there.

    It also meant Rice would need to be careful in the second half too, with England needing to keep eleven men on the field to ensure their progression to the last four. But England started the first half on the front foot, looking to extend their lead rather than protect it, as Sterling had two early shots from the edge of the area denied by Sommer, before an effort from Henderson left Sommer at full stretch to turn the ball wide. England made all the early running in the second half, and it appeared as if it was a matter of time before putting Switzerland to the sword.

    But digging their heels in, Switzerland – having survived that early second half onslaught – regrouped, and rolled the dice, reverting to a back four and sending on Breel Embolo to join Seferovic up top, replacing central defender Elvedi, and went in search of an equaliser, risking leaving gaps in defence. Initially, it looked like England could pick their inferior opponents off, until a high boot challenge from Jordan Henderson on Mehmedi resulted – initially – in a yellow card for Henderson, meaning he too would miss the potential semi-final due to suspension.

    That was bad enough. Worse was to come. A VAR review of the challenge deemed Hendersons high boot to be not just worthy of a yellow card … BUT RED. Reduced to ten men, England suddenly had twenty five minutes to contend with to try and protect their lead; which wouldn’t be easy. Missing their most accomplished and experienced midfielder, England suddenly looked vulnerable, and the Swiss smelt blood in the water, beginning to pour forward, piling the pressure on Englands defence.

    Southgate quickly looked to plug the hole, as Dier replaced Mount, but still, the momentum was with Switzerland, looking dangerous with a two pronged attack now, and Embolo appeared to be on form, forcing a tremendous save from Pickford to keep the score at 1-0. Pickford was soon on call again, as Rodriquez wicked cross found the head of Seferovic, with the goalkeeper tipping the effort over the bar. And Fabian Schaar should’ve levelled as he somehow went unchallenged from the resulting corner … but his effort clipped the bar to give England a let off.

    Seeing Diers presence alongside Rice making little difference in preventing Switzerland laying siege on the defence, Southgate looked to add another body to the midfield, sacrificing the pace of Raheem Sterling to bring on the assuredness of Harry Winks in the midfield alongside the steel of Dier and Rice. And to the England boss’s credit, that appeared to at least stop the relentless nature of Switzerlands attack, and allowed England to get on the ball at least – even if they continued to be pressed in their own half.

    But coming into the final five minutes, England needed calm heads all around, calling on all their experience to get through this storm … but Harry Maguire proceeded to gift Switzerland an opportunity on goal, whiffing on a clearance, and directing the ball straight at the oncoming Breel Embolo!!! Embolo could hardly believe his luck, and powered into the box, one on one with Pickford … PICKFORD IS EQUAL TO THE SHOT!!! Embolo should’ve scored!!! Straight at the Everton keeper!!!

    Maguire is spared his blushes, but that mishap from the Manchester United captain re-invigorates the Swiss for the closing stages, as Shaqiri causes all kinds of problems, eventually drawing Dier into a foul in a dangerous position!! Ricardo Rodriguez is the dead ball specialist from these positions for Switzerland usually, but Shaqiri clearly fancies this one. The two stand over it, with Pickford unsure who to expect to deliver … IT’S SHAQIRI…

    LEAVING PICKFORD FOR DEAD; ROOTED TO THE SPOT-

    OFF THE BAR!!!

    England frantically get the ball cleared, but the danger isn’t over!! Into injury time, Shaqiri is still weaving through players, looking for gaps … and now England are too afraid to make a challenge!! Standing off Shaqiri, trying to just put him under pressure, the diminutive winger invites the opposition on … and fakes a shot, before dinking it over the defence … CHESTED DOWN BY EMBOLO … with Pickford rushing to close him down … EMBOLO SQUARES IT FOR SEFEROVIC … IT NEEDS A TOUCH INTO THE OPEN NET-

    HE MIS-KICKS IT!!!

    Seferovic drops to his knees after mis-hitting his effort, and sees the ball – with the empty net gaping – trickle out of play!!! England look to get the ball as far up the pitch as possible from the goal kick, with the England players all looking to the official for the final whistle which is yet to come. And instead, Switzerland get ONE MORE CHANCE to mount an attack, as Rodriguez sends the ball toward the box where just about every Swiss outfield player has camped out…

    BUT THE HEADER COMES FROM MAGUIRE!!! And Ben Chilwell hoofs the ball out – anywhere – with that being the final action of the game!! Ten man England survive the late second half barrage from Switzerland, having seen the opposition force saves from Pickford, hit the bar, AND miss an open net! But the win comes with a price; BOTH Jordan Henderson AND Declan Rice will miss the semi-final at Wembley against the winner of tonight’s second game between the World Champions France and Turkey.


    FINAL SCORE
    Switzerland 0-1 England
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Kane Pen 43
    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Henderson Sent Off 66

    (Bookings; Declan Rice**, Jordan Henderson** (RED), Granit Xhaka, Michael Lang, Hans Seferovic)
    (Man Of The Match: Jordan Pickford)
    **= Misses Next Game











    Saturday July 4th | 5pm

    QUARTER-FINALS
    FRANCE vs. TURKEY
    Olympic Stadium, Baku



    FRANCE – 1. Hugo Lloris (C), 2. Benjamin Pavard*, 4. Raphael Varane*, 5. Clement Lenglet, 19. Lucas Digne, 6. Paul Pogba*, 14. Blaise Matuidi, 11. Kingsley Coman, 8. Thomas Lemar, 10. Kylian Mbappe, 9. Olivier Giroud

    TURKEY – 12. Mert Gunok, 22. Kaan Ayhan*, 15. Merih Demiral*, 4. Caglar Soyuncu*, 13. Umut Meras, 5. Emre Belozoglu (C), 21. Okay Yokuslu, 8. Oguzhan Ozyakup, 10. Hakan Calhanoglu*, 7. Cengiz Under, 9. Cenk Tosun
    *= Booked in previous game


    Due to suspensions, both sides were forced into changes, as Lemar and Matuidi were handed the unenviable tasks of replacing the suspended duo of Kante and Griezmann, whilst Lucas Digne returned to the starting line up ahead of Lucas Hernandez. For Turkey, Emre was handed a recall due to the suspension of Tufan, whilst Cenk Tosun – scorer of the late winner against Denmark – replaces the suspended Yilmaz up front, in a meeting of two sides who met on two occasions during qualifying, with Turkey having taken four points from a possible six in those meetings against the World Champions.

    But playing France in qualification is a different beast from facing France in the heat of a major tournament quarter final. And quickly, Turkey found themselves on the backfoot, defending deeply from early on, as even minus the brilliance of Griezmann, Thomas Lemar is a player that would walk on to most other nations starting eleven, and fills the void of Griezmann, albeit in a much different manner. Without Griezmann, much more is expected of Mbappe and Coman from wide areas, and in just the first seven minutes, it looks like it’ll be a long night for the Turkey backline.

    Despite finding France a much different proposition than in qualification, Turkey dig their heels in, showing plenty of steel and determination … but can’t simply defend for 90 (plus) minutes against a side with the attacking talent of France. And after a few half chances for Giroud (headed straight at the keeper) and Mbappe (skewed into the side netting) Turkey are undone from a French free kick as Paul Pogba RIFLES the ball from twenty five yards, proving too much for Gunok, who makes a valiant effort … but the balls beats him, AS POGBA FIRES FRANCE AHEAD!!!

    But coming into half time, France have every right to be disappointed not to extend that lead. For having dominated the first forty five minutes, they still only have that one goal to show for it. Both Lemar and Coman have efforts from similar positions on the edge of the box, but can’t keep their shots down, with the ball always rising, letting Turkey off again, whilst Gunok gets down to deny Mbappe at the near post, earning pats on the back from his defence for keeping them in the game.

    In the opening forty five minutes, Turkey failed to register a shot on target, with Cenk Tosun registering only one touch in the opposition half during the opening period too … and the second half followed a similar pattern to the first. France continued to press the action, probing on the edge of the Turkey area, looking to exploit a gap … and the overlap from Digne provides an opening with Pogba chipping the ball out to the free full back, who drives the ball across goal … and LEMARS TOUCH TAKES IT PAST THE KEEPER-

    BUT IT’S CLEARED OFF THE LINE BY KAAN AYHAN!!!

    Less than a minute later, Mbappe cuts through the Turkish backline with ease, and curls the ball past Gunok … BUT HITS THE POST!!! Turkey survive two huge chances in a matter of moments, and finally get a chance to catch their breath when a third opportunity is wasted by Pogba, with the Manchester United midfielder sending an effort well over the bar. Another shot from Mbappe just after the hour is saved by Gunok, and another effort from Giroud is just inches wide, as France continuously knock on the door to put Turkey to the sword.

    And with time ticking down, Senol Gunes surely must be thinking on the Turkish bench about making some kind of change to affect the game and prevent it slipping away without so much as a fight; there’s no honour in going out meekly like this. Somehow, with seventy minutes played, it’s still only 1-0 to France, with Gunes finally making a change as Hakan Calhanoglu – who has looked less than 100% throughout the game – is finally withdrawn, and Yusuf Yazici on in his place to offer something different going forward.

    Kenan Karaman is also set to replace Tosun, but they hold off on that change when Emre hobbles off for treatment. The 39 year old is eventually in need of being replaced, meaning a change of direction for Turkey, as Karaman is still the choice to come on, but now, to join Tosun up top, leaving a hole in midfield with the substitution of the captain. The change doesn’t reap instant dividends though, with Turkey still barely able to get on the ball, and earning themselves more yellow cards – including a booking for Kaan Ayhan; his fourth of the tournament and resulting in his second suspension as he’ll miss the semi-final if they were to somehow get there.

    That looks very far off though right now, although Turkey do finally register a shot on target – albeit a tame header right into the hands of Lloris – courtesy of Cenk Tosun. Still, France are unable to find the killer blow to put the game to bed, growing frustrated, but with time running down, Deschamps looks to play it safe, seemingly settling for the single goal victory, and takes off his star men, looking to rest Mbappe and not risk a yellow card on Pogba, not wanting the midfielder to pick up a suspension. Moussa Sissoko and Tolisso replace the pair to help see the game out.

    Those moves offer Turkey a glimpse of hope, but while they’re able to push further forward, France have more than enough in their defence to comfortably see the game out, keeping Turkey at range, protecting the final third. Into added time, Cengiz Under picks the ball up, but runs into trouble before pulling out a flawless Marseille turn to keep possession, and having done that to avoid the challenge, quickly the Turkish starlet lashes a bullet of an effort at goal … AND IT FLASHES BY LLORIS; UNBELIEVABLE!!! AN EQUALIZER AT THE DEATH FOR TURKEY!!!!

    A sensational piece of football from the 22 year old, dragging Turkey from the brink of elimination, and now Didier Deschamps is facing extra time without his two star players; Mbappe and Pogba!! The momentum has completely shifted in Turkey’s favour, despite offering almost no threat for the bulk of the game!! We’re now into time added on to time added on as Matuidi sends the ball long in search of Giroud, but the Chelsea striker is beaten in the air by Soyuncu, allowing Ozyakup to retrieve possession.

    He sends it out wide to Yazici, who lofts it forward into a dangerous area with the outside of his boot, as Karaman runs the channel, but plays it back to Under … and the French defenders are all sitting off him, allowing the Roma man to bring the ball into the box; they’re too afraid to make a challenge … it’s an invite for the attacker … AND HE WHIPS ANOTHER EFFORT ON GOAL … BEATING LLORIS AGAIN!!!!! An unbelievable turn of events as Turkey – specifically Cengiz Under – score two injury time goals to turn this tie on it’s head!!!

    France only have time to kick off and lump the ball forward before the final whistle is blown!!! Didier Deschamps offers a brief handshake to his opposite number, but the French coach is livid at the added time, with Turkeys winner coming after the allotted added time had concluded. He challenges the officials as they leave the field, remonstrating with constant and angry taps on his watch, feeling cheated … but his side have to take a share of the blame with wasteful finishing at times, and the decision to rest Pogba and Mbappe late in the game while only 1-0 ahead.

    Questions will surely be asked of the French, but the night belongs to the miraculous comeback from the underdogs. Cengiz Under is the toast of Turkey, with the emerging star surely now picking up the attention of the worlds biggest clubs after a string of sensational performances throughout the tournament. Turkish celebrations in Baku will go on late into the night, as this incredible turnaround undoubtedly eclipses the Swiss upset of Spain in the Round of Sixteen to be the biggest shock of the entire tournament. The World Champions are OUT, and Turkey will now travel to London to meet England at Wembley for a place in next Sundays final!!


    FINAL SCORE
    France 1 – 2 Turkey
    Pogba 22 aaaa Under 90+2, 90+4

    (Bookings; Blaise Matuidi, Umut Meras, Emre Belozoglu, Okay Yokuslu, Kaan Ayhan**)
    (Man Of The Match: Cengiz Under)
    **= Misses next game

  14. #134
    I'm a Stone Cold Lee Guy.
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    Re: The Epic Conclusion to the Football Season & Euro 2020

    ....seriously how much did Hermes bribe you?
    The most amazing thing about this recent conversation is that I've learned AON is even more of a waste of space than I thought he was previously

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